Original paper

Historical water vapour measurements at Hohenpeissenberg observatory demonstrate long term change

Winkler, Peter

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 23 No. 3 (2014), p. 269 - 277

21 references

published: Sep 25, 2014
published online: Jun 3, 2014
manuscript accepted: Feb 3, 2014
manuscript revision received: Jan 21, 2014
manuscript received: Nov 29, 2013

DOI: 10.1127/0941-2948/2014/0557

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Abstract

Historical psychrometric water vapour measurements (1841–1867) from Hohenpeissenberg were found to have an acceptable data quality. The mean frequency distribution of daily averages shows a characteristic shift to a higher level in the transition from cooler to warmer years. The same behaviour is found in recent history and at present. The average frequency distribution of daily mean temperatures shows a good agreement between historical warmer and more recent cooler years. This allows one to conclude that the observed long-term water vapour increase is connected with warming.Recent data (1980–2009) show a good correlation between SST in the Eastern Atlantic and the vapour pressure observed at Hohenpeissenberg, pointing to the ocean as the major source of water vapour. The pronounced correlation is observed in all months except November and December. Most notably, during the extremely dry summer in June 2003, the highest SST in the eastern Atlantic Ocean was accompanied by the highest water vapour pressure at Hohenpeissenberg (monthly averages in each case). The frequency distribution of atmospheric water vapour at Hohenpeissenberg appears to be composed of two different modes in both the historical and recent time period. The origin of this bimodality still needs to be explained.

Keywords

water vapour pressurehistorical datatrends