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Chilled mirror hygrometers (CMH) are widely used to measure water vapour in the troposphere and lower stratosphere from balloon-borne sondes. Systematic discrepancies among in situ water vapour instruments have been observed at low water vapour mixing ratios (<5 ppm) in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UT/LS). Understanding the source of the measurement discrepancies is important for a more accurate and reliable determination of water vapour abundance in this region. We have<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="https://doi.org/10.5194/amtd-3-3725-2010">doi:10.5194/amtd-3-3725-2010</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="https://fatcat.wiki/release/ybvairgpanfg3jkrlbmb6ixxze">fatcat:ybvairgpanfg3jkrlbmb6ixxze</a> </span>
more »... ed a laboratory study to investigate the potential interference of gas-phase nitric acid (HNO 3 ) with the measurement of frost point temperature, and consequently the water vapour mixing ratio, determined by CMH under conditions representative of operation in the UT/LS. No detectable interference in the measured frost point temperature was found for HNO 3 mixing ratios of up to 4 ppb for exposure times up to 150 min. HNO 3 was observed to co-condense on the mirror frost, with the adsorbed mass increasing linearly with time at constant exposure levels. Over the duration of a typical balloon sonde ascent (90-120 min), the maximum accumulated HNO 3 amounts were comparable to monolayer coverage of the geometric mirror surface area, which corresponds to only a small fraction of the actual frost layer surface area. This small amount of co-condensed HNO 3 is consistent with the observed lack of HNO 3 interference in the frost point measurement because the CMH utilizes significant reductions (>10%) in surface reflectivity by the condensate to determine H 2 O. Correspondence to: T. Thornberry (email@example.com)
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