Peggy Achtert
Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University

Lidar Measurements of Polar Stratospheric Clouds in the Arctic

Time and place
Fri 5 April 2013, 10.00
Magnélisalen, Kemiska Övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16B

(This event has taken place)


Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCs) play a key role for ozone depletion in the polar stratosphere. Its magnitude depends on the type of PSC and its lifetime and extent. This thesis presents PSC observations conducted with the Esrange lidar and the space-borne CALIPSO lidar.

PSCs are separated into three types according to their optical properties. The occurrence rate of the different types which are often observed simultaneously as well as their interaction and connection is not well understood. To better understand the processes that govern PSC formation, observations need to be combined with a detailed view of the atmospheric background in which PSCs develop, exist, and are transformed from one type to another.

This thesis introduces a new channel of the Esrange lidar for temperature profiling at heights below 35 km. The design of this channel and first temperature measurements within PSCs and cirrus clouds are presented. This is an important step since the majority of PSC-related literature extracts temperatures within PSCs from reanalysis data.

In contrast to ground–based measurements space–borne lidar does not rely on cloud–free conditions. Hence, it provides an unprecedented opportunity for studying the connection between PSCs and the underlying synoptic–scale conditions which manifest as tropospheric clouds. This thesis shows that most of the PSCs observed in the Arctic during winter 2007/08 occurred in connection with tropospheric clouds.

A combined analysis of ground-based and space-borne lidar observation of PSCs in combination with microphysical modeling can improve our understanding of PSC formation. A first case study of this approach shows how a PSC that was formed by synoptic-scale processes is transformed into another type while passing the Scandinavian mountains.

Today a variety of classification schemes provides inconsistent information on PSC properties and types. This thesis suggests a unified classification scheme for lidar measurements of PSCs.