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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 5, issue 2 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 5, 429-438, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-5-429-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 24 Feb 2012

Research article | 24 Feb 2012

Evaluation of Arctic broadband surface radiation measurements

N. Matsui1,2, C. N. Long4, J. Augustine2, D. Halliwell3, T. Uttal2, D. Longenecker1,2, O. Niebergall3, J. Wendell2, and R. Albee2,5 N. Matsui et al.
  • 1Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 2National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Environment Canada, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • 4Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA
  • 5Scientific Technology Corporation, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. The Arctic is a challenging environment for making in-situ surface radiation measurements. A standard suite of radiation sensors is typically designed to measure incoming and outgoing shortwave (SW) and thermal infrared, or longwave (LW), radiation. Enhancements may include various sensors for measuring irradiance in narrower bandwidths. Many solar radiation/thermal infrared flux sensors utilize protective glass domes and some are mounted on complex mechanical platforms (solar trackers) that keep sensors and shading devices trained on the sun along its diurnal path. High quality measurements require striking a balance between locating stations in a pristine undisturbed setting free of artificial blockage (such as from buildings and towers) and providing accessibility to allow operators to clean and maintain the instruments. Three significant sources of erroneous data in the Arctic include solar tracker malfunctions, rime/frost/snow deposition on the protective glass domes of the radiometers and operational problems due to limited operator access in extreme weather conditions. In this study, comparisons are made between the global and component sum (direct [vertical component] + diffuse) SW measurements. The difference between these two quantities (that theoretically should be zero) is used to illustrate the magnitude and seasonality of arctic radiation flux measurement problems. The problem of rime/frost/snow deposition is investigated in more detail for one case study utilizing both SW and LW measurements. Solutions to these operational problems that utilize measurement redundancy, more sophisticated heating and ventilation strategies and a more systematic program of operational support and subsequent data quality protocols are proposed.

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