The vertical structure of precipitation at two stations in East Antarctica derived from micro rain radars

Duran-Alarcon, Claudio; Boudevillain, Brice; Genthon, Christophe; Grazioli, Jacopo; Souverijns, Niels; van Lipzig, Nicole P. M.; Gorodetskaya, Irina V.; Berne, Alexis


Precipitation over Antarctica is the main term in the surface mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet, which is crucial for the future evolution of the sea level worldwide. Precipitation, however, remains poorly documented and understood mainly because of a lack of observations in this extreme environment. Two observatories dedicated to precipitation have been set up at the Belgian station Princess Elisabeth (PE) and at the French station Dumont d'Urville (DDU) in East Antarctica. Among other instruments, both sites have a vertically pointing micro rain radar (MRR) working at the K band. Measurements have been continuously collected at DDU since the austral summer of 2015-2016, while they have been collected mostly during summer seasons at PE since 2010, with a full year of observation during 2012. In this study, the statistics of the vertical profiles of reflectivity, vertical velocity, and spectral width are analyzed for all seasons. Vertical profiles were separated into surface precipitation and virga to evaluate the impact of virga on the structure of the vertical profiles. The climatology of the study area plays an important role in the structure of the precipitation: warmer and moister atmospheric conditions at DDU favor the occurrence of more intense precipitation compared with PE, with a difference of 8 dBZ between both stations. The strong katabatic winds blowing at DDU induce a decrease in reflectivity close to the ground due to the sublimation of the snowfall particles. The vertical profiles of precipitation velocity show significant differences between the two stations. In general, at DDU the vertical velocity increases as the height decreases, while at PE the vertical velocity decreases as the height decreases. These features of the vertical profiles of reflectivity and vertical velocity could be explained by the more frequent occurrence of aggregation and riming at DDU compared to PE because of the lower temperature and relative humidity at the latter, located further in the interior. Robust and reliable statistics about the vertical profile of precipitation in Antarctica, as derived from MRRs for instance, are necessary and valuable for the evaluation of precipitation estimates derived from satellite measurements and from numerical atmospheric models.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000456995900001 Not found in local WOS DB
Título de la Revista: CRYOSPHERE
Volumen: 13
Número: 1
Editorial: Copernicus Gesellschaft mbH
Fecha de publicación: 2019
Página de inicio: 247
Página final: 264


Notas: ISI