Articles | Volume 9, issue 16
19 Aug 2009
 | 19 Aug 2009

Tropospheric water vapour above Switzerland over the last 12 years

J. Morland, M. Collaud Coen, K. Hocke, P. Jeannet, and C. Mätzler

Abstract. Integrated Water vapour (IWV) has been measured since 1994 by the TROWARA microwave radiometer in Bern, Switzerland. Homogenization techniques were used to identify and correct step changes in IWV related to instrument problems. IWV from radiosonde, GPS and sun photometer (SPM) was used in the homogenisation process as well as partial IWV columns between valley and mountain weather stations. The average IWV of the homogenised TROWARA time series was 14.4 mm over the 1996–2007 period, with maximum and minimum monthly average values of 22.4 mm and 8 mm occurring in August and January, respectively. A weak diurnal cycle in TROWARA IWV was detected with an amplitude of 0.32 mm, a maximum at 21:00 UT and a minimum at 11:00 UT. For 1996–2007, TROWARA trends were compared with those calculated from the Payerne radiosonde and the closest ECMWF grid point to Bern. Using least squares analysis, the IWV time series of radiosondes at Payerne, ECMWF, and TROWARA showed consistent positive trends from 1996 to 2007. The radiosondes measured an IWV trend of 0.45±0.29%/y, the TROWARA radiometer observed a trend of 0.39±0.44%/y, and ECMWF operational analysis gave a trend of 0.25±0.34%/y. Since IWV has a strong and variable annual cycle, a seasonal trend analysis (Mann-Kendall analysis) was also performed. The seasonal trends are stronger by a factor 10 or so compared to the full year trends above. The positive IWV trends of the summer months are partly compensated by the negative trends of the winter months. The strong seasonal trends of IWV on regional scale underline the necessity of long-term monitoring of IWV for detection,understanding, and forecast of climate change effects in the Alpine region.

Final-revised paper