Journal article

Measurements of precipitation in Dumont d'Urville, Adelie Land, East Antarctica

The first results of a campaign of intensive observation of precipitation in Dumont d'Urville, Antarctica, are presented. Several instruments collected data from November 2015 to February 2016 or longer, including a polarimetric radar (MXPol), a Micro Rain Radar (MRR), a weighing gauge (Pluvio(2)), and a Multi-Angle Snowflake Camera (MASC). These instruments collected the first ground-based measurements of precipitation in the region of Adelie Land (Terre Adelie), including precipitation microphysics. Microphysical observations during the austral summer 2015/2016 showed that, close to the ground level, aggregates are the dominant hydrometeor type, together with small ice particles (mostly originating from blowing snow), and that riming is a recurring process. Eleven percent of the measured particles were fully developed graupel, and aggregates had a mean riming degree of about 30 %. Spurious precipitation in the Pluvio2 measurements in windy conditions, leading to phantom accumulations, is observed and partly removed through synergistic use of MRR data. The yearly accumulated precipitation of snow (300 m above ground), obtained by means of a local conversion relation of MRR data, trained on the Pluvio2 measurement of the summer period, is estimated to be 815 mm of water equivalent, with a confidence interval ranging between 739.5 and 989 mm. Data obtained in previous research from satellite-borne radars, and the ERA-Interim reanalysis of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) provide lower yearly totals: 655 mm for ERA-Interim and 679 mm for the climatological data over DDU. ERA-Interim overestimates the occurrence of low-intensity precipitation events especially in summer, but it compensates for them by underestimating the snowfall amounts carried by the most intense events. Overall, this paper provides insightful examples of the added values of precipitation monitoring in Antarctica with a synergistic use of in situ and remote sensing measurements.


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