PLATO 2018-2019

PLATO: a field campaign in Davis, Antarctica

The Precipitation over Land And The Southern Ocean (PLATO) is a project coordinated and logistically supported by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) that aims to characterize precipitation over the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, and evaluate the precipitation products obtained by satellites and atmospheric models. The central field campaign was organized at Davis station, East Antarctica, with an intensive observation period from November 2018 to February 2019. The LTE contributed with an X-band Doppler dual-polarization radar (MXPol), a multi-angle snowflake camera (MASC), and a weighing rain gauge (Pluvio2). The figure below shows the location of Davis station (red dot) and of the instruments. The interest of LTE in this campaign is to better characterize snowfall microphysics in Antarctica, compare the data with other Antarctic campaigns (e.g. APRES3), and evaluate the representation of Antarctic clouds and precipitation in atmospheric models.

Conducting field campaigns in Antarctica is quiet challenging from a logistical perspective: the figure below illustrates the transportation of MXPol by helicopter to the place where it was installed.

Pictures of the instruments are presented in the figure below: (a) MXPol, (b) a meteorological platform with the Pluvio2 among other instruments, (c) the MASC, and (d) a Raman lidar and a cloud radar belonging to AAD and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The figure below shows an example of a RHI scan from MXPol on 10 January 2019. The presence of mountain waves during this event clearly affected the shape of the precipitating cloud, while snowfall sublimated below about 1500 m a.s.l. More on this event can be found in Gehring et al. 2021.

Gehring, J., E. Vignon, A.-C. Billault-Roux, A. Ferrone, A. Protat, S. P. Alexander, and A. Berne(2021a), The influence of orographic gravity waves on precipitation during an atmospheric river eventat Davis, Antarctica,Earth and Space Science Open Archive, doi:10.1002/essoar.10507051.1