07 Nov 2022
07 Nov 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Statistical analysis of observations of polar stratospheric clouds with a lidar in Kiruna, northern Sweden

Peter Voelger and Peter Dalin Peter Voelger and Peter Dalin
  • Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF), Kiruna, Sweden

Abstract. In the present paper, we analyze 11 years of lidar measurements to derive general characteristics of Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCs) and to examine how mountain lee waves influence PSC properties. Measurements of PSCs were made with a backscatter lidar located in Kiruna, northern Sweden, in the lee of the Scandinavian mountain range. The statistical analysis demonstrates that nearly half of all observed PSCs consisted of nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) particles while ice clouds were only a small fraction, supercooled ternary solution (STS) and a mixture of different components making up the rest. Most PSCs were observed around 22 km altitude. Mountain lee waves provide a distinct influence on PSC chemical composition and cloud height distribution. Ice PSCs were about 5 times as frequent and NAT clouds were about half as frequent under wave conditions. PSCs were on average at 2 km higher altitudes when under the influence of mountain lee waves.

Peter Voelger and Peter Dalin

Status: open (until 19 Dec 2022)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1163', Farahnaz Khosrawi, 21 Nov 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1163', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Dec 2022 reply

Peter Voelger and Peter Dalin

Peter Voelger and Peter Dalin


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Short summary
We examined 11 winters of lidar measurements of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs), performed in Kiruna, northern Sweden. We discriminated cases with and without mountain lee waves present. We found that under mountain-lee-wave conditions PSCs are on average at higher altitudes and are more likely to contain ice. Without such waves present most PSCs consist of nitric acid.