Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 171, Issue 1, pp 101–128 | Cite as

Stable Surface-Based Turbulent Layer During the Polar Winter at Dome C, Antarctica: Sodar and In Situ Observations

  • Igor PetenkoEmail author
  • Stefania Argentini
  • Giampietro Casasanta
  • Christophe Genthon
  • Margarita Kallistratova
Research Article


An experiment to investigate atmospheric turbulence was performed at Concordia station (Dome C, Antarctica) during winter 2012, finding significant turbulence in a near-surface layer extending to heights of a few tens of metres, despite the strong stable stratification. The spatial and temporal behaviour of thermal turbulence is examined using a high-resolution sodar, starting from the lowest few metres with a vertical resolution better than 2 m. Sodar observations are complemented by in situ measurements using a weather station and radiometers near the surface, temperature and wind-speed sensors at six levels on a 45-m tower, and radiosondes. The depth of the surface-based turbulent layer (SBTL) at Dome C during the whole winter is directly measured experimentally for the first time, and has an average depth of ≈ 23 m, varying from a few to several tens of metres, while the inversion-layer depth ≈ 380 m. Relationships between the depth of the SBTL and atmospheric parameters such as the temperature, wind speed, longwave radiation, Brunt–Väisälä frequency and Richardson number are shown. The SBTL under steady weather conditions is analyzed and classified into three prevailing types: (i) a very shallow layer with a depth < 15 m, (ii) a shallow layer of depth 15–70 m with uniform internal structure, (iii) a shallow layer of depth 20–70 m with waves. Wave activity in the SBTL is observed during a significant portion of the time, with sometimes regular (with periodicity of 8–15 min) trains of Kelvin–Helmholtz billow-like waves occurring at periods of 20–60 s, and lasting several hours.


Dome C Antarctica Internal gravity-shear waves High-resolution sodar Stable boundary layer Surface-based turbulent layer 



We thank the Italian National Programme of Researches in Antarctica (PNRA) and the Paul-Emile Victor French Polar Institute (IPEV) running the Concordia station for making possible a study in this special place. This research has been done in the framework of the projects “Mass lost in wind flux” (MALOX), and “Concordia multi-process atmospheric studies” (COMPASS) sponsored by the PNRA. A special thanks to P. Grigioni and all the stuff of the Antarctic Meteo-Climatological Observatory at Concordia of the PNRA for providing the data and information from the automatic weather station and radiosoundings obtained from the IPEV/PNRA Project “Routine Meteorological Observations at Station Concordia” ( M. Kallistratova acknowledges the Grant of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Project No 16-05-01072. The authors are also thankful to G. Mastrantonio, A. Viola, and A. Conidi for their assistance in preparing the experimental equipment, and to the logistics staff of the Concordia station for their help during the field work. We would like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their careful reading of our manuscript and many insightful comments and constructive suggestions. The authors are thankful to B. van de Wiel, A. Grachev, V. Gryanik, R. Sozzi, E. Vignon, and S. Zilitinkevich for useful discussions and comments.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, CNRRomeItaly
  2. 2.A.M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics RASMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Meteolorogie DynamiqueCNRSParisFrance

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