Characterization of atmospheric properties at the future sites of the Cherenkov Telescope Array
2019 July 22
Advanced knowledge of the detailed atmospheric properties of both the future sites of the Cherenkov Telescope Array is essential in preparation of the arrival of the first scientific data. Meteorological variables are studied using a dedicated characterization station installed at the southern site in Chile and a wealth of data from existing observatories around the northern site on the La Palma island. Campaigns using radiosondes launched on balloons are foreseen to complement these data in the near future. Cloudiness during the night has been continuously monitored at both sites for several years using All-sky Cameras which assess the presence of clouds based on detection of stars. The integrated aerosol optical depth over the southern site has been measured using a Sun/Moon Photometer since 2016 and the small robotic FRAM telescope since 2017; identical instruments have been deployed at the northern site in autumn 2018. Also in October 2018, the ARCADE Raman lidar (RL) has started to take measurements on routine basis at the northern site, providing data on the vertical profile of the aerosol optical properties (i.e., extinction and scattering) and of the water vapour mixing ratio. We present the data currently available from these instruments from both sites with emphasis on characteristics important for the (future) operation of Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes.