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Open Access Development of meteorological parameters and total ozone during the total solar eclipse of August 11, 1999

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During the total eclipse of August 11, 1999 frequent showers occurred due to a unstable stratification of the air mass. At different observation sites, meteorological effects from the eclipse (99.4% coverage at Hohenpeißenberg) and from showers were superimposed making it partly difficult to unambiguously interpret the observations. The weather radar at Hohenpeißenberg observatory provided a general overview of the distribution of clouds and precipitation in this area (200 km diameter). From the Garching site in the zone of totality (100%) temperature and wind data taken on a 50 m mast were evaluated. By selecting periods with relatively low cloud cover it was possible to approximately follow the development of the vertical temperature and wind profiles during the eclipse. The minimum temperature at Hohenpeißenberg (about 450 m above the altitude of Garching) during the eclipse was comparable to that during the previous night, the corresponding value measured at Garching remained about 2 K above the minimum observed during clear sky conditions in the previous night. Showers before, during or after the eclipse may have induced vertical exchange of air parcels. Temperatures during a shower change towards the same direction at all altitudes, thus no inversion forms. Additionally, air parcels with relatively lower concentrations of trace constituents were transported down from aloft for time periods of 10–15 minutes. These mixing processes significantly determined the temporal variations of various trace substances measured during the eclipse. Total ozone measurements at Hohenpeißenberg were performed with both DOBSON and BREWER spectrophotometers and at another site within the zone of totality by using a portable Microtops II filter instrument. Different results were obtained for both sites. These differences can be to a large extend, but not exclusively, attributed to eclipse induced shifts (limb darkening and straylight effects in the atmosphere) in the wavelength pairs used to calculate total ozone. However, there also appeared to be real fluctuations in total ozone during the reemerging phase of the sun which may be related to eclipse induced gravity waves.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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