Atmospheric monitoring and model applications at the Pierre Auger Observatory
1 Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Institut für Kernphysik, Karlsruhe, Germany
2 Observatorio Pierre Auger, Av. San Martín Norte 304, 5613 Malargüe, Argentina
3 Instituto de Astrofísica Canarias (IAC), La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
Published online: 26 March 2015
The Pierre Auger Observatory detects high-energy cosmic rays with energies above ∼1017 eV. It is built as a multi-hybrid detector measuring extensive air showers with different techniques. For the reconstruction of extensive air showers, the atmospheric conditions at the site of the Observatory have to be known quite well. This is particularly true for reconstructions based on data obtained by the fluorescence technique. For these data, not only the weather conditions near ground are relevant, most important are altitude-dependent atmospheric profiles. The Pierre Auger Observatory has set up a dedicated atmospheric monitoring programme at the site in the Mendoza province, Argentina. Beyond this, exploratory studies were performed in Colorado, USA, for possible installations in the northern hemisphere. In recent years, the atmospheric monitoring programme at the Pierre Auger Observatory was supplemented by applying data from atmospheric models. Both GDAS and HYSPLIT are developments by the US weather department NOAA and the data are freely available. GDAS is a global model of the atmospheric state parameters on a 1 degree geographical grid, based on real-time measurements and numeric weather predictions, providing a full altitude-dependent data set every 3 hours. HYSPLIT is a powerful tool to track the movement of air masses at various heights, and with it the aerosols. Combining local measurements of the atmospheric state variables and aerosol scattering with the given model data, advanced studies about atmospheric conditions can be performed and high precision air shower reconstructions are achieved.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2015
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