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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  20 Oct 2020

20 Oct 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

The De-Icing Comparison Experiment (D-ICE): A study of broadband radiometric measurements under icing conditions in the Arctic

Christopher J. Cox1, Sara M. Morris1, Taneil Uttal1, Ross Burgener2, Emiel Hall2,3,4, Mark Kutchenreiter5, Allison McComiskey6, Charles N. Long2,3,4,,, Bryan D. Thomas2, and James Wendell2 Christopher J. Cox et al.
  • 1NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL), Boulder, Colorado, 80305, USA
  • 2NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory (GML), Boulder, Colorado, 80305, USA
  • 3Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), Boulder, Colorado, 80305, USA
  • 4University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 80305, USA
  • 5National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, Colorado, 80401, USA
  • 6Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, New York, 11973, USA
  • retired
  • deceased

Abstract. Surface-based measurements of broadband shortwave (solar) and longwave (infrared) radiative fluxes using thermopile radiometers are made regularly around the globe for scientific and operational environmental monitoring. The occurrence of ice on sensor windows in cold environments – whether snow, rime, or frost – is a common problem that is difficult to prevent as well as difficult to correct in post-processing. The Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) community recognizes radiometer icing as a major outstanding measurement uncertainty. Towards constraining this uncertainty, the De-Icing Comparison Experiment (D-ICE) was carried out at the NOAA Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, from August 2017 to July 2018. The purpose of D-ICE was to evaluate existing ventilation and heating technologies developed to mitigate radiometer icing. D-ICE consisted of 20 pyranometers and 5 pyrgeometers operating in various ventilator housings alongside operational systems that are part of NOAA's Barrow BSRN station and the U.S. Dept. of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program North Slope of Alaska and Oliktok Point observatories. To detect icing, radiometers were monitored continuously using cameras, with a total of more than 1 million images of radiometer domes archived. Ventilator and ventilator/heater performance overall was skilful with the average of the systems mitigating 77 % of icing and many being 90+ % effective. Ventilators without heating elements were also effective and capable of providing heat through roughly equal contributions of waste energy from the ventilator fan and adiabatic heating downstream of the fan. This provided ~ 0.6 C of warming, enough to subsaturate the air up to a relative humidity (w.r.t. ice) of ~ 105 %. Because the mitigation technologies performed well, a near complete record of verified ice-free radiometric fluxes were assembled for the duration of the campaign. This well-characterized data set is suitable for model evaluation, in particular for the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) first Special Observing Period (SOP1). We used the data set to calculate short- and long-term biases in iced sensors, finding that biases can be up to +60 W m−2 (longwave) and −211 to +188 W m−2 (shortwave). However, because of the frequency of icing, mitigation of ice by ventilators, cloud conditions, and the timing of icing relative to available sunlight, the biases in the monthly means were generally less than the aggregate uncertainty attributed to other conventional sources.

Christopher J. Cox et al.

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Status: open (until 17 Dec 2020)
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Christopher J. Cox et al.

Data sets

Webcam images of OLI and NSA skyrad (DICEXACO) Christopher J. Cox, Allison McComiskey, and Sara M. Morris

Christopher J. Cox et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Solar and infrared radiation are measured regularly for research, industry and climate monitoring. In cold climates, icing of sensors is a poorly constrained source of uncertainty. D-ICE was carried out in Alaska to document the effectiveness of ice mitigation technology and quantify errors associated with ice. Technology was more effective than anticipated and while instantaneous errors were large, biases were small in the mean. Attributes of effective ice mitigation design were identified.
Solar and infrared radiation are measured regularly for research, industry and climate...