Ground-based lidars can provide continuous observations of tropospheric humidity profiles using the Raman scattering of light by water vapour and nitrogen molecules. We will present specific humidity profiles obtained at the high Arctic location Ny-Ålesund (Spitsbergen, 79°N). Under nighttime conditions the observations cover a range from about 500 m altitude up to the upper troposphere. Daylight limits the observations to the lower troposphere, depending on atmospheric transmission and the water vapour content. In a case study on 29 January, simultaneous observations of humidity and aerosol extinction show distinct differences in the various altitudes during the advection of aerosol-rich air masses. In the boundary layer, the aerosol is less affected by the humidity. In the free troposphere, the lidar ratio was observed to be up to 60 sr with some evidence for the uptake of water vapour by the aerosol particles. In another case study from 28 February 2002, the influence of the mean wind direction and the orography on the water vapour concentration near the ground and in the free troposphere will be discussed. During wintertime, a humidity inversion up to about 1.5 km altitude with dry air near the ground has frequently been found with wind from the southeast. Such local effects and small-scale structures observed by stationary lidar mostly cannot be resolved by other sounding methods like passive satellite soundings.
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > POL1-Processes and interactions in the polar climate system