Journal article Open Access

Genesis of Diamond Dust and Thick Cloud Episodes observed above Dome C, Antarctica

Ricaud, Philippe; Bazile, Eric; del Guasta, Massimo; Lanconelli, Christian; Grigioni, Paolo; Mahjoub, Achraf

<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> From 15 March to 8 April 2011 and from 4 to 5 March 2013, the atmosphere above Dome C (Concordia station, Antarctica, 75°06' S, 123°21' E, 3233 m amsl) has been probed by several instruments and model to study episodes of thick cloud and diamond dust (cloud constituted of suspended ice crystals). 1) A ground-based microwave radiometer (HAMSTRAD, H<sub>2</sub>O Antarctica Microwave Stratospheric and Tropospheric Radiometers) installed at Dome C that provided vertical profiles of tropospheric temperature and absolute humidity to calculate Integrated Water Vapour (IWV). 2) Daily radiosoundings launched at 12:00 UTC at Dome C. 3) A tropospheric aerosol Lidar that provides aerosol depolarization ratio along the vertical at Dome C. 4) Down- and upward short- and longwave radiations as provided by the Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) facilities. 5) Space-borne aerosol depolarization ratio from the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) Lidar aboard the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) platform along orbits close to the Dome C station. The time evolution of the atmosphere has also been evaluated by considering the outputs from the meso-scale AROME and the global-scale ARPEGE meteorological models. Two distinct periods are highlighted by all the datasets: the warm and wet periods (24–26 March 2011 and 4 March 2013) and the cold and dry periods (5 April 2011 and 5 March 2013). Combining radiation and active measurements of aerosols with nebulosity calculations, a thick cloud is detected during the warm and wet periods with high depolarization ratios (greater than 30 %) from the surface to 5–7 km altitude associated with precipitation of ice particles and the presence of a supercooled liquid water (depolarization of about 10 %) cloud. During the cold and dry periods, high depolarization ratios (greater than 30 %) to a maximum altitude of 100–500 m are measured suggesting that the cloud is constituted of ice crystals with no trace of precipitation. These ice crystals in suspension in the air are named diamond dust. Considering 5-day back trajectories from Dome C and global distributions of IWV over the Antarctic show that the thick-cloud episode is attributed to air masses with an oceanic origin whilst the diamond dust episode is attributed to air masses with continental origins. This is consistent with ARPEGE temperature and water vapour tendency favouring predominantly advection processes including microphysical processes for water vapour.</p>

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