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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Mar 2019

Research article | 08 Mar 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

The new BELUGA setup for collocated turbulence and radiation measurements using a tethered balloon: First applications in the cloudy Arctic boundary layer

Ulrike Egerer1, Matthias Gottschalk2, Holger Siebert1, André Ehrlich2, and Manfred Wendisch2 Ulrike Egerer et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 2University of Leipzig, Institute for Meteorology, Stephanstr. 3, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

Abstract. The new BELUGA (Balloon-bornE moduLar Utility for profilinG the lower Atmosphere) tethered balloon system is introduced. It combines a set of instruments to measure turbulent and radiative parameters and energy fluxes. BELUGA enables collocated measurements either at a constant altitude or as vertical profiles up to 1.5 km height. In particular, the instrument payload of BELUGA comprises three modular instrument packages for high resolution meteorological, wind vector and broadband radiation measurements. The collocated data acquisition allows to estimate the driving parameters of the energy balance in various altitudes. Heating rates and net irradiances can be related to turbulent fluxes and local turbulence parameters such as dissipation rates. In this paper the technical setup, the instrument performance, and the measurement strategy of BELUGA are explained. Furthermore, the high vertical resolution due to the slow ascent speed is highlighted as a major advantage of tethered balloon-borne observations. Three illustrative case studies of the first application of BELUGA in the Arctic atmospheric boundary layer are presented. As a first example, measurements of a single layer stratocumulus are discussed. They show a pronounced cloud top radiative cooling of up to 6 K h−1. To put this into context, a second case elaborates respective measurements with BELUGA in a cloudless situation. In a third example, a multi layer stratocumulus was probed, revealing reduced turbulence and negligible cloud top radiative cooling for the lower cloud layer. In all three cases the net radiative fluxes are much higher than turbulent fluxes. Altogether, BELUGA has proven its robust performance in cloudy conditions of the Arctic atmospheric boundary layer.

Ulrike Egerer et al.
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Ulrike Egerer et al.
Ulrike Egerer et al.
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Short summary
In this study, we introduce the new tethered balloon system BELUGA, which includes different modular instrument packages for measuring turbulence and radiation in the atmospheric boundary layer. BELUGA was deployed in an Arctic field campaign in 2017, providing details of boundary layer processes in combination with low-level clouds. Those processes are still not fully understood and in-situ measurements in the Arctic improve our understanding of the Arctic response in terms of global warming.
In this study, we introduce the new tethered balloon system BELUGA, which includes different...