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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-77
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-77
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  24 Feb 2020

24 Feb 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP and is expected to appear here in due course.

Trends of atmospheric water vapour in Switzerland from ground-based radiometry, FTIR and GNSS data

Leonie Bernet1,2, Elmar Brockmann3, Thomas von Clarmann4, Niklaus Kämpfer1,2, Emmanuel Mahieu5, Christian Mätzler1,2, Gunter Stober1,2, and Klemens Hocke1,2 Leonie Bernet et al.
  • 1Institute of Applied Physics, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 3Federal Office of Topography, swisstopo, Wabern, Switzerland
  • 4Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 5Institute of Astrophysics and Geophysics, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium

Abstract. Vertically integrated water vapour (IWV) is expected to increase globally in a warming climate. To determine whether IWV increases as expected on a regional scale, we present IWV trends in Switzerland from ground-based remote sensing techniques and reanalysis models, considering data for the time period 1995 to 2018. We estimate IWV trends from a ground-based microwave radiometer in Bern, from a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer at Jungfraujoch, from reanalysis data (ERA5 and MERRA-2) and from Swiss ground-based Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) stations. Using a straightforward trend method, we account for jumps in the GNSS data, which are highly sensitive to instrumental changes. We found that IWV generally increased by 2 to 5 % per decade, with deviating trends at some GNSS stations. Trends were significantly positive at 23 % of all GNSS stations, which often lie at higher altitudes (between 850 and 1700 m above sea level). Our results further show that IWV in Bern scales to air temperature as expected (except in winter), but the IWV–temperature relation based on reanalysis data in whole Switzerland is not everywhere clear. In addition to our positive IWV trends, we found that the radiometer in Bern agrees within 5 % with GNSS and reanalyses. At the high altitude station Jungfraujoch, we found a mean difference of 0.26 mm (15 %) between the FTIR and coincident GNSS data, improving to 4 % after an antenna update in 2016. In general, we showed that ground-based GNSS data are highly valuable for climate monitoring, given that the data have been homogeneously reprocessed and that instrumental changes are accounted for. We found a response of IWV to rising temperature in Switzerland, which is relevant for projected changes in local cloud and precipitation processes.

Leonie Bernet et al.

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Leonie Bernet et al.

Leonie Bernet et al.

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Latest update: 19 Sep 2020
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Short summary
With global warming, water vapour increases in the atmosphere. Water vapour is an important gas, because it is a natural greenhouse gas and affects the formation of clouds, rain and snow. How much water vapour increases can vary in different regions of the world. To verify if it increases as expected on a regional scale, we analysed water vapour in Switzerland. We found that water vapour generally increased as expected from temperature changes, except in winter and in the mountains.
With global warming, water vapour increases in the atmosphere. Water vapour is an important gas,...
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