Skip to main content Accesibility Help

Measurements by controlled meteorological balloons in coastal areas of Antarctica

  • Lars R. Hole (a1), Alexis Pérez Bello (a2), Tjarda J. Roberts (a3), Paul B. Voss (a4) and Timo Vihma (a5)...

An experiment applying controlled meteorological (CMET) balloons near the coast of Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, in January 2013 is described. Two balloons were airborne for 60 and 106 hours with trajectory lengths of 885.8 km and 2367.4 km, respectively. The balloons carried out multiple controlled soundings on the atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity up to 3.3 km. Wind speed and direction were derived from the balloon drift. Observations were compared with radiosonde sounding profiles from the Halley Research Station, and applied in evaluating simulations carried out with the weather research and forecasting (WRF) mesoscale atmospheric model. The most interesting feature detected by the CMET balloons was a mesoscale anticyclone over the Weddell Sea and the coastal zone, which was reproduced by the WRF model with reduced intensity. The modelled wind speed was up to 10 m s-1 slower and the relative humidity was 20–40% higher than the observed values. However, over the study period the WRF results generally agreed with the observations. The results suggest that CMET balloons could be an interesting supplement to Antarctic atmospheric observations, particularly in the free troposphere.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Measurements by controlled meteorological balloons in coastal areas of Antarctica
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Measurements by controlled meteorological balloons in coastal areas of Antarctica
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Measurements by controlled meteorological balloons in coastal areas of Antarctica
      Available formats
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Hide All
Andreas, E.L. 2002. Parameterizing scalar transfer over snow and ice: a review. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 3, 417432.
Barbaro, E., Zangrando, R., Vecchiato, M., Piazza, R., Cairns, W.R.L., Capodaglio, G., Barbante, C. & Gambaro, A. 2015. Free amino acids in Antarctic aerosol: potential markers for the evolution and fate of marine aerosol. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 15, 10.5194/acp-15-5457-2015.
Blamey, R.C. & Reason, C.J.C. 2009. Numerical simulation of a mesoscale convective system over the east coast of South Africa. Tellus - Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 61A, 1734.
Bromwich, D.H., Monaghan, A.J., Manning, K.W. & Powers, J.G. 2005. Real-time forecasting for the Antarctic: an evaluation of the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS). Monthly Weather Review, 133, 579603.
Bromwich, D.H., Nicolas, J.P., Monaghan, A.J., Lazzara, M.A., Keller, L.M., Weidner, G.A. & Wilson, A.B. 2014. Central West Antarctica among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth. Nature Geoscience, 6, 139145. Corrigendum: Nature Geoscience, 7, 76.
Cassano, J.J. 2014. Observations of atmospheric boundary layer temperature profiles with a small unmanned aerial vehicle. Antarctic Science, 26, 205213.
Chen, F. & Dudhia, J. 2001. Coupling an advanced land surface-hydrology model with the Penn State-NCAR MM5 modeling system. Part I: model implementation and sensitivity. Monthly Weather Review, 129, 569585.
Dalu, G.A., Baldi, M., Moran, M.D., Nardone, C. & Sbano, L. 1993. Climatic atmospheric outflow at the rim of the Antarctic continent. Journal Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 98, 12 95512 960.
Durre, I., Vose, R.S. & Wuertz, D.B. 2006. Overview of the Integrated Global Radiosonde Archive. Journal of Climate, 19, 5368.
Handorf, D., Foken, T. & Kottmeier, C. 1999. The stable atmospheric boundary layer over an Antarctic ice sheet. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 91, 165189.
Heinemann, G. & Klein, T. 2003. Simulations of topographically forced mesocyclones in the Weddell Sea and the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. Monthly Weather Review, 131, 302316.
Hong, S.-Y., Dudhia, J. & Chen, S.-H. 2004. A revised approach to ice microphysical processes for the bulk parameterization of clouds and precipitation. Monthly Weather Review, 132, 103120.
Iacono, M.J., Delamere, J.S., Mlawer, E.J., Shephard, M.W., Clough, S.A. & Collins, W.D. 2008. Radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases: calculations with the AER radiative transfer models. Journal Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 113, 10.1029/2008JD009944.
Jonassen, M.O., Tisler, P., Altstädter, B., Scholtz, A., Vihma, T., Lampert, A., König-Langlo, G. & Lüpkes, C. 2015. Application of remotely piloted aircraft systems in observing the atmospheric boundary layer over Antarctic sea ice in winter. Polar Research, 34, 10.3402/polar.v34.25651.
Kain, J.S., Coniglio, M.C., Correia, J., Clark, A.J., Marsh, P.T., Ziegler, C.L., Lakshmanan, V., Miller, S.D., Dembek, S.R., Weiss, S.J., Kong, F.Y., Xue, M., Sobash, R.A., Dean, A.R., Jirak, I.L. & Melick, C.J. 2013. A feasibility study for probabilistic convection initiation forecasts based on explicit numerical guidance. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 94, 12131225.
King, J.C. & Turner, W.M. 1997. Antarctic meteorology and climatology. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 409 pp.
Knuth, S.L. & Cassano, J.J. 2014. Estimating sensible and latent heat fluxes using the integral method from in situ aircraft measurements. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 31, 19641981.
Lazzara, M.A., Weidner, G.A., Keller, L.M., Thom, J.E. & Cassano, J.J. 2012. Antarctic Automatic Weather Station Program: 30 years of polar observation. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93, 15191537.
Nishikawa, H., Tachibana, Y. & Udagawa, Y. 2014. Radiosonde observational evidence of the impact of an extremely cold SST spot on a mesoscale anticyclone. Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 119, 10.1002/2014JD021538.
Nygård, T., Valkonen, T. & Vihma, T. 2013. Antarctic low-tropospheric humidity inversions: 10-yr climatology. Journal of Climate, 26, 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00446.1.
Pirazzini, R. 2004. Surface albedo measurements over Antarctic sites in summer. Journal Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 109, 10.1029/2004JD004617.
Powers, J.G., Manning, K.W., Bromwich, D.H., Cassano, J.J. & Cayette, A.M. 2012. A decade of Antarctic science support through AMPS. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93, 16991712.
Roberts, T.J., Dutsch, M., Hole, L.R. & Voss, P.B. 2015. Controlled meteorological (CMET) balloon profiling of the Arctic atmospheric boundary layer around Spitsbergen compared to a mesoscale model. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 15, 10.5194/acpd-15-27539-2015.
Sabu, P., George, J.V., Anilkumar, N., Chacko, R., Valsala, V. & Achuthankutty, C.T. 2015. Observations of watermass modification by mesoscale eddies in the subtropical frontal region of the Indian Ocean sector of Southern Ocean. Deep-Sea Research II - Topical Studies in Oceanography, 118, 10.1016/j.dsr2.2015.04.010.
Skamarock, W.C., Klemp, J.B., Dudhia, J., Gill, D.O., Barker, D.M., Duda, M.G., Huang, X,-Y., Wang, W. & Powers, J.G. 2008. A description of the advanced research WRF version 3. NCAR technical note TN-475+STR. Boulder, CO: National Center for Atmospheric Research, 113 pp.
Starr, W.L. & Vedder, J.F. 1989. Measurements of ozone in the Antarctic atmosphere during August and September 1987. Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 94, 11 44911 463.
Stenmark, A., Hole, L.R., Voss, P., Reuder, J. & Jonassen, M.O. 2014. The influence of nunataks on atmospheric boundary layer convection during summer in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Journal Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 119, 10.1002/2013JD021287.
Tastula, E.-M. & Vihma, T. 2011. WRF model experiments on the Antarctic atmosphere in winter. Monthly Weather Review, 139, 10.1175/2010MWR3478.1.
Tastula, E.-M., Vihma, T. & Andreas, E.L. 2012. Evaluation of polar WRF from modeling the atmospheric boundary layer over Antarctic sea ice in autumn and winter. Monthly Weather Review, 140, 39193935.
Turner, J. & Pendlebury, S.F., eds. 2004. The international Antarctic weather forecasting handbook. Cambridge: British Antarctic Survey, 663 pp.
Van de Berg, W.J., van den Broeke, M.R. & van Meijgaard, E. 2007. Heat budget of the East Antarctic lower atmosphere derived from a regional atmospheric climate model. Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 112, 10.1029/2007JD008613.
Van den Broeke, M.R., Reijmer, C. & van de Wal, R. 2004. Surface radiation balance in Antarctica as measured with automatic weather stations. Journal Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 109, 10.1029/2003JD004394.
Voss, P.B., Hole, L.R., Helbling, E.F. & Roberts, T.J. 2013. Continuous in-situ soundings in the Arctic boundary layer: a new atmospheric measurement technique using controlled meteorological balloons. Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems, 70, 609617.
Voss, P.B., Zaveri, R.A., Flocke, F.M., Mao, H., Hartley, T.P., DeAmicis, P., Deonandan, I., Contreras-Jimenez, G., Martinez-Antonio, O., Estrada, M.F., Greenberg, D., Campos, T.L., Weinheimer, A.J., Knapp, D.J., Montzka, D.D., Crounse, J.D., Wennberg, P.O., Apel, E., Madronich, S. & de Foy, B. 2010. Long-range pollution transport during the MILAGRO-2006 campaign: a case study of a major Mexico City outflow event using free-floating altitude-controlled balloons. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 10, 71377159.
Walden, V.P., Warren, S.G. & Murcray, F.J. 1998. Measurements of the downward longwave radiation spectrum over the Antarctic Plateau and comparisons with a line-by-line radiative transfer model for clear skies. Journal Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 103, 10.1029/97JD02433.
Zhang, Z., Vihma, T., Stössel, A. & Uotila, P. 2015. The role of wind forcing from operational analyses for the model representation of Antarctic coastal sea ice. Ocean Modelling, 94, 10.1016/j.ocemod.2015.07.019.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antarctic Science
  • ISSN: 0954-1020
  • EISSN: 1365-2079
  • URL: /core/journals/antarctic-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed