08 May 2024
 | 08 May 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Development of a Peltier-based chilled-mirror hygrometer for tropospheric and lower stratospheric water vapor measurements

Takuji Sugidachi, Masatomo Fujiwara, Kensaku Shimizu, Shin-Ya Ogino, Junko Suzuki, and Ruud J. Dirksen

Abstract. We have developed a Peltier-based non-cryogenic chilled-mirror hygrometer named “SKYDEW” to measure water vapor from the surface to the stratosphere. Several chamber experiments were conducted to investigate the characteristics and performance of the instrument under various conditions. The stability of the feedback controller that maintains the condensate on the mirror depends on the controller setting, the condensate condition, and the frost point in ambient air. The results of condensate observation by a microscope and proportional-integral-derivative (PID) tuning in a chamber were used to determine the PID parameters of the controller such that slight oscillations of the scattered light signal from the mirror and mirror temperature are retained. This allows for the detection of steep gradients in the humidity profile, which are otherwise not detected because of the slower response. The oscillation of the raw mirror temperature is smoothed with a golden point method that select the equilibrium point of the frost layer. We further describe the details of the data processing and the uncertainty estimation for SKYDEW measurements in terms of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN) requirements. The calibration uncertainty of the mirror temperature measurement is <0.1 K for the entire temperature range from –95 to 40 °C. The total measurement uncertainty of SKYDEW measurements can exceed 0.5 K in the region where large oscillations of the mirror temperature remain.

Intercomparisons with relative humidity (RH) sensors on radiosondes, the cryogenic frost point hygrometer (CFH), and satellite Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) were performed at various latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere to evaluate the performance of SKYDEW. These results show that SKYDEW can reliably measure atmospheric water vapor up to 25 km altitude. Data from several SKYDEW and CFH measurements predominantly agree within their respective uncertainties, although a systematic difference of ~0.5 K between SKYDEW and CFH was found in the stratosphere, the reason for which is unknown. SKYDEW shows good agreement with Aura MLS for profiles that are not affected by contamination.

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Takuji Sugidachi, Masatomo Fujiwara, Kensaku Shimizu, Shin-Ya Ogino, Junko Suzuki, and Ruud J. Dirksen

Status: open (until 12 Jun 2024)

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Takuji Sugidachi, Masatomo Fujiwara, Kensaku Shimizu, Shin-Ya Ogino, Junko Suzuki, and Ruud J. Dirksen
Takuji Sugidachi, Masatomo Fujiwara, Kensaku Shimizu, Shin-Ya Ogino, Junko Suzuki, and Ruud J. Dirksen


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Short summary
A Peltier-based chilled-mirror hygrometer, SKYDEW, has been developed to measure tropospheric and stratospheric water vapor. Continuous accurate measurements of water vapor are essential for climate monitoring. More than 40 soundings with SKYDEW have been conducted since 2011 to evaluate the performance. The result of soundings at tropical and mid-latitudes demonstrated that SKYDEW is able to measure up to an altitude of 20–25 km for daytime soundings and above 25 km for nighttime soundings.