12.3 Remote and Autonomous Measurements of Precipitation in Antarctica

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 2:00 PM
Room 13AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Mark W. Seefeldt, CIRES/Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO; and S. D. Landolt, A. J. Monaghan, and J. Lentz

The accurate measurement of precipitation in Antarctica continues to be an elusive task. The measurement of precipitation in remote locations using low-power, autonomous methods is even more challenging. The two primary difficulties with measuring precipitation in Antarctica are the small overall amount of annual precipitation and differentiating between blowing snow and precipitating snow that accumulates at a site. Limitations with year-round battery and solar power, the extreme cold temperatures, and once-per-year field visits add to the difficulties of this measurement. During the 2017-18 field season, four low-power, autonomous Antarctic Precipitation Systems (APSs) were installed on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica with the United States Antarctic Program. The systems measure precipitation using a suite of instruments simultaneously taking observations using different methods. The instruments include a precipitation gauge with a double Alter-style shield, two types of disdrometers, a snow height sensor, solar radiation sensors, an anemometer at gauge height, and a webcam. There will also be snow height measured by the reflectivity of the GPS signal at two of the APS sites. The goals of the project are to develop the ability to measure precipitation in Antarctica and further evaluate the surface mass balance as well as to assess numerical weather prediction and climate model precipitation estimates. This presentation will provide an overview of the precipitation measurement systems, the results of the recent field season, and the science goals for the project.
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