Precipitation instruments at Rothera Station, Antarctic Peninsula: a comparative study

  • Malcolm S.Y. Tang National Antarctic Research Centre, Institute of Graduate Studies, University of Malaya https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9536-2009
  • Sheeba Nettukandy Chenoli Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya
  • Steve Colwell British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
  • Rosey Grant British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
  • Mairi Simms British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
  • John Law British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK; eMetService, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Azizan Abu Samaha Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Malaya
Keywords: Observation, Antarctica, reanalysis, GPCP 1DD, blowing snow

Abstract

Direct measurement of precipitation in the Antarctic using ground-based instruments is important to validate the results from climate models, reanalyses and satellite observations. Quantifying precipitation in Antarctica faces many unique challenges such as wind and other technical difficulties due to the harsh environment. This study compares a variety of precipitation measurements in Antarctica, including satellite data and reanalysis fields atRothera Station, Antarctica Peninsula. The tipping bucket gauges (TBGs) were less sensitive than laserbased sensors (LBSs). The most sensitive LBS (Visibility and Present Weather Sensor, VPF-730) registered 276 precipitation days, while the most sensitive TBG (Universal Precipitation Gauge, UPG-1000) detected 152 precipitation days. Case studies of the precipitation and seasonal accumulation results show the VPF-730 to be the most reliable precipitation sensor of the evaluated instruments. The precipitation amounts given by the reanalyses were positively correlated with wind speed. The precipitation from the Japanese 55-year Reanalysis was most affected by wind speed. Case studies also show that during low wind periods, precipitation measurements from the instruments were very close to the precipitation measurement given by the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) 1-degreedaily (1DD) data. During strong wind events, the GPCP 1DD did not fully capture the effect of wind, accounting for the relatively small precipitation amount. The Laser Precipitation Monitor (LPM) and Campbell Scientific-700 (CS700H) experienced instrumental errors during the study, which caused the precipitation readings to become exceedingly high and low, respectively. Installing multiple LBSs in different locations (in close proximity) can help identify inconsistency in the readings.

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Published
2018-09-24
How to Cite
Tang, M., Nettukandy Chenoli, S., Colwell, S., Grant, R., Simms, M., Law, J., & Abu Samaha, A. (2018). Precipitation instruments at Rothera Station, Antarctic Peninsula: a comparative study. Polar Research, 37. Retrieved from https://polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/2661
Section
Research Articles