Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
del Río C., Lobos F., Siegmund A., Tejos C., Osses P., Huaman Z., Meneses J.P., García J.L. (2021)

GOFOS, ground optical fog observation system for monitoring the vertical stratocumulus-fog cloud distribution in the coast of the Atacama Desert, Chile

Revista : Journal of Hydrology
Volumen : 597
Páginas : 126190
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Studying fog requires a good understanding of both its horizontal and vertical distributions. Among these two,the vertical one is the most challenging to observe. Different methods have been adopted for observing thisvariable, among which the most commonly used are satellite datasets, together with airborne and meteorologicalsurface observations. Yet, all these techniques present significant limitations as for spatial and temporal resolution when describing the vertical fog structure. In this manuscript, we introduce the Ground Optical FogObservation System (GOFOS), a new method to describe the advective fog’s frequency and vertical distribution.This tool is based on in-situ optical observations, taking advantage of the topography of the Atacama Desertcoastal mountains, where advective fog is frequent. During 2017, the GOFOS reported a fog presence <10%during summer and of ~50% during winter. Also, the GOFOS shows a diurnal variability of fog presence thatdecreases around noon and increases again starting from the afternoon. The vertical structure observed by theGOFOS shows a cloud depth of ~250 m, subject to diurnal and seasonal variabilities. By analyzing GOFOS resultsthrough a comparison with the ones obtained by standard observations, a ~93% agreement was found betweenthe fog frequencies detected by the GOFOS and GOES. Also, we found a ~80% consistency between GOFOS fogfrequency values and marine boundary layer regimes related to fog formation. Moreover, we observed that thecloud base height estimated by the GOFOS is correlated with the Iquique Airport ceilometer measurements (r =+0.6). Finally, the mean cloud top height estimated by the GOFOS differs by 8% from the Antofagasta Airportradio-soundings measurements. These results provide useful information for the selection of optimal sites for fogharvesting and for getting a better understanding of the interactions between fog and its ecosystem. Inconclusion, through this study the GOFOS demonstrated its potential as a simple, reliable, and affordable methodfor systematic fog monitoring that might also be adapted to different topographic conditions.