03 Mar 2022
03 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Illuminating the structure of convective cold pools with a dense station network

Bastian Kirsch1,4, Cathy Hohenegger2,4, Daniel Klocke3,4,2, Rainer Senke1, Michael Offermann1, and Felix Ament1,2,4 Bastian Kirsch et al.
  • 1Meteorological Institute, University of Hamburg, Germany
  • 2Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Deutscher Wetterdienst, Offenbach am Main, Germany
  • 4Hans Ertel Centre for Weather Research, Branch Model Development - Convection, Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. From June to August 2020 an observational network of 103 meteorological ground-based stations covered the greater area (50 km × 35 km) of Hamburg (Germany) as part of the Field Experiment on Sub-mesoscale Spatio-Temporal variability in Hamburg (FESST@HH). The purpose of the experiment was to shed light on the sub-mesocale (O(100) m – O(10) km) structure of convective cold pools that typically remains under-resolved in operational networks. During the experiment, 82 custom-built, low-cost APOLLO (Autonomous cold POoL LOgger) stations sampled air temperature and pressure with fastresponse sensors at 1 s resolution to adequately capture the strong and rapid perturbations associated with propagating cold pool fronts. A secondary network of 21 weather stations with commercial sensors provided additional information on relative humidity, wind speed and precipitation at 10 s resolution. The realization of the experiment during the COVID-19 pandemic was facilitated by a large number of volunteers who provided measurement sites on their premises and supported the station maintenance. This article introduces the novel type of autonomously operating instruments, their measurement characteristics and the FESST@HH data set (; Kirsch et al., 2021b). A case study demonstrates that the network is capable of mapping the horizontal structure of the temperature signal inside a cold pool as well as quantifying its size and propagation velocity throughout its life cycle. Beyond its primary purpose, the data set offers new insights into the spatial and temporal characteristics of the nocturnal urban heat island and variations of turbulent temperature fluctuations as an expression of different urban and natural environments.

Bastian Kirsch et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-424', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2021-424', Aryeh Drager, 26 May 2022

Bastian Kirsch et al.

Data sets

FESST@HH meteorological network measurements Bastian Kirsch, Cathy Hohenegger, Daniel Klocke, Rainer Senke, Michael Offermann, and Felix Ament

Bastian Kirsch et al.


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Short summary
Cold air pools forming underneath precipitating clouds are key to understand atmospheric convection but conventional observation networks do not resolve their km-scale structure. We present the FESST@HH field experiment that took place in Hamburg (Germany) during summer 2020 and featured a dense network of 103 custom-built, low-cost weather stations. The data set is capable of mapping the horizontal temperature structure of cold pools and quantifying their size and propagation velocity.