skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: ARM West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) Science Plan

West Antarctica is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth, and this warming is closely connected with global sea level rise. The discovery of rapid climate change on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has challenged previous explanations of Antarctic climate change that focused on strengthening of circumpolar westerlies in response to the positive polarity trend in the Southern Annular Mode. West Antarctic warming does not yet have a comprehensive explanation: dynamical mechanisms may vary from one season to the next, and these mechanisms very likely involve complex teleconnections with subtropical and tropical latitudes. The prime motivation for this proposal is that there has been no substantial atmospheric science or climatological field work on West Antarctica since the 1957 International Geophysical Year and that research continued for only a few years. Direct meteorological information on the WAIS has been limited to a few automatic weather stations for several decades, yet satellite imagery and meteorological reanalyses indicate that West Antarctica is highly susceptible to advection of warm and moist maritime air with related cloud cover, depending on the location and strength of low pressure cells in the Amundsen, Ross, and Bellingshausen Seas. There is a need to quantify themore » role of these changing air masses on the surface energy balance, including all surface energy components and cloud-radiative forcing. More generally, global climate model simulations are known to perform poorly over the Antarctic and Southern Oceans, and the marked scarcity of cloud information at southern high latitudes has so far inhibited significant progress. Fortunately, McMurdo Station, where the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Facility’s (ARM’s) most advanced cloud and aerosol instrumentation is situated, has a meteorological relationship with the WAIS via circulation patterns in the Ross and Amundsen Seas. We can therefore gather sophisticated data with cloud radars and high spectral resolution lidar and a complete aerosol suite at McMurdo that have relevance to the WAIS as well. At the same time, we will send basic radiometric, surface energy balance, and upper air equipment directly to the WAIS to make the first well calibrated climatological suite of measurements seen in this extremely remote but globally critical region in more than 40 years.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. National Science Foundation
  2. Ohio State University
  3. Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  4. The Pennsylvania State University
  5. Brookhaven National Laboratory
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Program Document
DOE ARM Climate Research Facility, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Richland, Washington.
Research Org:
DOE Office of Science Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States