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P. Bougeault, P. Binder, A. Buzzi, R. Dirks, R. Houze, J. Kuettner, R. B. Smith, R. Steinacker, and H. VoIkert
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C. D. Whiteman, T. Haiden, B. Pospichal, S. Eisenbach, and R. Steinacker

Abstract

Air temperature data from five enclosed limestone sinkholes of various sizes and shapes on the Hetzkogel Plateau near Lunz, Austria (1300 m MSL), have been analyzed to determine the effect of sinkhole geometry on temperature minima, diurnal temperature ranges, temperature inversion strengths, and vertical temperature gradients. Data were analyzed for a non-snow-covered October night and for a snow-covered December night when the temperature fell as low as −28.5°C. A surprising finding is that temperatures were similar in two sinkholes with very different drainage areas and depths. A three-layer model was used to show that the sky-view factor is the most important topographic parameter controlling cooling for basins in this size range in near-calm, clear-sky conditions and that the cooling slows when net longwave radiation at the floor of the sinkhole is nearly balanced by the ground heat flux.

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C. D. Whiteman, T. Haiden, B. Pospichal, S. Eisenbach, and R. Steinacker
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R. Steinacker, C. D. Whiteman, M. Dorninger, B. Pospichal, S. Eisenbach, A. M. Holzer, P. Weihs, E. Mursch-Radlgruber, and K. Baumann

Because sinkholes are an excellent natural laboratory for studying processes leading to the formation, maintenance, and dissipation of temperature inversions, an extended set of meteorological field experiments was conducted in limestone sinkholes of various sizes and shapes in the eastern Alps during the period from 17 October 2001 through 4 June 2002. The experiments were conducted in an area surrounding the Gruenloch Sinkhole, which in earlier years had recorded the lowest surface minimum temperature in Central Europe, −52.6°C. A dense array of surface temperature sensors and three automatic weather stations were operated continuously during the experimental period, and special experiments enhanced with tethersondes and other equipment were conducted from 2 to 4 June 2002. An overview of the experiments is presented and first results are given.

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