Contactless optical hygrometry in LACIS-T

Nowak J.L., Grosz R., Frey W., Niedermeier D., Mijas J., Malinowski S.P., Ort L., Schmalfuß S., Stratmann F., Voigtländer J. and Stacewicz T.

Atmospheric Measurement Techniques

15(13), 2022, 4075-4089, 10.5194/amt-15-4075-2022

The Fast Infrared Hygrometer (FIRH), employing open-path tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy at the wavelengths near the 1364.6896 nm line, was adapted to perform contactless humidity measurements at the Turbulent Leipzig Aerosol Cloud Interaction Simulator (LACIS-T), a unique turbulent moist-air wind tunnel. The configuration of the setup allows for scanning from outside the walls of the wind tunnel and at various positions without the need for repeated optics adjustments.

We identified three factors which significantly influence the measurement – self-broadening of the absorption line, interference in the glass windows and parasitic absorption in the ambient air outside the wind tunnel – and developed correction methods which satisfactorily account for these effects. The comparison between FIRH and a reference hygrometer (dew-point mirror MBW 973) indicated a good agreement within the expected errors across the wide range of water vapour concentration 1.0–6.1×1017 cm−3 (equiva- lent to dew-point temperature of −5.4 to +21 ◦C at the temperature of 23 ◦C).

High temporal resolution (∼ 2 kHz) allowed for studying turbulent fluctuations in the course of intensive mixing of two air streams which had the same mean velocity but differed in temperature and humidity, also including the settings for which the mixture can be supersaturated. The obtained results contribute to improved understanding and interpretation of cloud formation studies conducted in LACIS-T by complementing the previous characterizations of turbulent velocity and temperature fields inside the wind tunnel.