Dome C is located on the Antarctic continent at 3233 m a.s.l. at the coordinates 75.1 °S 123.3 °E.
In 2014 the lidar observatory was installed at Dome C. The lidar observatory at Dome C consists of a Rayleigh lidar measuring two orthogonal polarizations at 532 nm from about 9 km up to 40 km and the backscatter signal at 1064 nm up to 30 km. It also measures the Raman scattering of molecular nitrogen up to 30 km. The measured quantities allow the study of polar stratospheric clouds (PSC) which are important for the heterogeneous chemistry in the stratosphere and in particular for the processes involving ozone destruction.
The occurrence of PSCs has been compared with satellite (CALIPSO) based lidar measurements and has been used to refine the PSC classification. Lidar measurements of PSCs provide essential data for Chemistry Climate Models (CCM). Recently a tropospheric channel with cross polarization has been added, allowing for the study of clouds below 10 km. The same lidar system has been previously deployed at McMurdo, and was active from 2004 to 2010.
The following channels are detected with a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope of 38 cm diameter and a mechanical chopper to block lidar returns below 10 km:
532 nm, parallel polarization high
532 nm, parallel polarization low
532 nm, perpendicular polarization
608 nm (Raman of molecular nitrogen)
A second telescope with a diameter of about 30 mm is used to observe the 532 nm parallel and perpendicular channels from 1 km up to about 30-40 km, in clear sky conditions.
The 532 nm lidar profiles are analyzed in order to detect and classify Polar Stratospheric Clouds, with an algorithm similar to the version 2 algorithm used for the space borne CALIOP lidar.
Dome C team:
Marcel Snels (Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, ISAC-CNR): principal investigator
Andrea Scoccione (ISAC-CNR)
Francesco Colao (ENEA)
PNRA for financial support