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Water vapor in cold and clean atmosphere: a 3-year data set in the boundary layer of Dome C, East Antarctic Plateau

Abstract : The air at the surface of the high Antarctic Plateau is very cold, dry and clean. Under such conditions, the atmospheric moisture can significantly deviate from thermodynamic equilibrium, and supersaturation with respect to ice can occur. Most conventional humidity sensors for meteorological applications cannot report supersaturation in this environment. A simple approach for measuring supersaturation using conventional instruments, with one being operated in a heated airflow, is presented. Since 2018, this instrumental setup has been deployed at three levels in the lower ∼40 m above the surface at Dome C on the high Antarctic Plateau. A resulting 3-year (2018-2020) record (Genthon et al., 2021a) is presented and analyzed for features such as the frequency of supersaturation with respect to ice, diurnal and seasonal variability, and vertical distribution. As supercooled liquid water droplets are frequently observed in clouds at the temperatures experienced on the high Antarctic Plateau, the distribution of relative humidity with respect to liquid water at Dome C is also discussed. It is suggested that, while not strictly mimicking the conditions of the high troposphere, the surface atmosphere on the Antarctic Plateau is a convenient natural laboratory to test parametrizations of cold microphysics predominantly developed to handle the genesis of high tropospheric clouds. Data are available from the PANGAEA data repository at https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.939425 (Genthon et al., 2021a).
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 3:21:56 PM
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Christophe Genthon, Dana E. Veron, Etienne Vignon, Jean-Baptiste Madeleine, Luc Piard. Water vapor in cold and clean atmosphere: a 3-year data set in the boundary layer of Dome C, East Antarctic Plateau. Earth System Science Data, Copernicus Publications, 2022, 14, pp.1571-1580. ⟨10.5194/essd-14-1571-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03706378⟩

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