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3rd HyMeX workshop 1-4 June 2009 Heraklion (Gournes), Crete-Greece

KITCube – Karlsruhe Atmospheric Observatory for Convection Studies

Norbert Kalthoff (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT); Andreas Wieser, Jan Handwerker, Ulrich Corsmeier, Martin Kohler, Christoph Kottmeier

The measurement platform KITCube is designed to investigate open questions in the research field of atmospheric convection. This includes turbulence and moist convection in the atmos-pheric boundary layer as well as initiation and development of deep convection. To collect the appropriate data in different regions of the world the whole system is mobile, to a large extent autonomous and its typical deployment is scheduled to measure for several months at the same site. Most of the measuring devices are remotely controlled from a master control centre on-site, where also relevant parameters are sampled, displayed, stored and distributed via internet. The control system takes advantage from the near real time data availability of the in situ and remote sensing data of the instruments and systems mentioned below in generating and applying automatically instruments settings (e.g. scan pattern) adapted to the changing meteorological conditions.
Following in situ and remote sensing systems are an integral part of the mobile laboratory:
- Two scanning Doppler wind lidar (1.6 µm and 2.0 µm) covering the range from 400 m to max. 10000 m. One of the wind lidars can be located remotely from the central station but within the range of the other lidar for typical dual Doppler applications or to measure along intersecting vertical lines in a so called virtual tower mode.
- A third Doppler lidar (1.54 µm) measures wind from 40 m to 200 m height.
- A sodar, detecting wind up to about 700 m.
- A microwave radiometer delivers liquid water path, continuous profiles of humidity and temperature in the troposphere and information about the cloud base.
- A scanning cloud radar (35 GHz), a K-band radar, a ceilometer, two cloud cameras and distrometers give insight into the properties of clouds and information about pre-cipitation.
- Two radiosonde systems measure the thermodynamic structure of the atmosphere at the central site and in the surrounding.
- Two energy balance stations provide the shortwave and longwave components of the radiation balance, the remaining components of the energy balance of the Earth¿s sur-face, precipitation, air pressure, surface temperature, as well as soil moisture and soil temperature at different depths. Additional surface stations can be distributed in the proximity of the central station to sample the mean meteorological conditions (tem-perature, humidity, wind, air pressure) and turbulent fluxes (sensible heat flux, mo-mentum flux).
- In case of scientific needs the central station can be equipped with a chemistry mod-ule, which collects the relevant trace gases in the atmosphere.
- Dropsondes can be used to measure the conditions in cloud and their environment. The aircraft which distributes the dropsondes - although not part of the KITCube can be used to quantify the spatial variability of the meteorological parameters in the surrounding of the measurement site. The aircraft is equipped to measure the components of the radiation balance, turbulent fluxes of sensible and latent heat as well as trace gases.
- When the KITCube is operated in the vicinity of Karlsruhe a Doppler C-Band radar and a 200 m tower, equipped with temperature, humidity, wind and turbulent measurements at different levels, are additional components of the whole system.
It is foreseen to deploy the KITCube mobile laboratory during the first HYMEX IOP on the northern tip of Corsica for an up to 12 month period. It can also be considered as one station within the framework of the wind profiler network at the French and Italian coast.