A good astronomical site must fulfill several criteria including low atmospheric turbulence and low wind speeds. It is therefore important to have a detailed knowledge of the temperature and wind conditions of a location considered for future astronomical research. Antarctica has unique atmospheric conditions that have already been exploited at the South Pole station. Dome C, a site located on a local maximum of the Antarctic plateau, is likely to have even better conditions. In this paper we present the analysis of two decades of wind speed measurements taken at Dome C by an automated weather station (AWS). We also present temperature and wind speed profiles taken over four Antarctic summers using balloon-borne weather sondes. We will show that as well as having one of the lowest average wind speed ever recorded at an existing or potential observatory, Dome C also has an extremely stable upper atmosphere and a very low inversion layer.
Bibliographical noteCopyright 2005 EDP Sciences. First published in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 430, No. 2, published by EDP Sciences. The original article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041876
- Atmospheric effects
- Site testing