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Air temperature measurements using autonomous self-recording dataloggers in mountainous and snow covered areas

AuthorsNavarro‐Serrano, Francisco CSIC ORCID CVN; López-Moreno, Juan I. CSIC ORCID ; Azorín-Molina, César CSIC ORCID; Buisán, S; Domínguez-Castro, Fernando CSIC ORCID; Sanmiguel-Vallelado, Alba CSIC ORCID; Alonso-González, Esteban CSIC ORCID; Khorchani, Makki CSIC ORCID
KeywordsAir temperature
Radiation shield
Snow Complex terrain
Temperature logger
SPICE (Solid Precipitation Intercomparison Experiment)
Issue Date2019
PublisherElsevier BV
CitationAtmospheric Research 224: 168- 179 (2019)
AbstractHigh mountain areas are poorly represented by official weather observatories. It implies that new instruments must be evaluated over snow-covered and strongly insolated environments (i.e. mid-latitude mountain areas). We analyzed uncertainty sources over snow covered areas including: 1) temperature logger accuracy and bias of two widely used temperature sensors (Tinytag and iButton); 2) radiation shield performance under various radiation, snow, and wind conditions; 3) appropriate measurement height over snow covered ground; and 4) differences in air temperature measured among nearby devices over a horizontal band. The major results showed the following. 1) Tinytag performance device (mean absolute error: MAE ≈ 0.1–0.2 °C in relation to the reference thermistor) was superior to the iButton (MAE ≈ 0.7 °C), which was subject to operating errors. 2) Multi-plate radiation shield showed the best performance under all conditions (> 90% samples has bias between ±0.5 °C). The tube shield required wind (> 2.5 m s −1 ) for adequate performance, while the funnel shield required limited radiation (< 400 W m −2 ). Snow cover causes certain overheating. 3) Air temperatures were found to stabilize at 75–100 cm above the snow surface. Air temperature profile was more constant at night, showing a considerable cooling on near surface at midday. 4) Horizontal air temperature differences were larger at midday (0.5 °C). These findings indicate that to minimize errors air temperature measurements over snow surfaces should be carried out using multi-plate radiation shields with high-end thermistors such as Tinytags, and be made at a minimum height above the snow covered ground. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2019.03.034
issn: 0169-8095
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