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Title: Basin-scale heterogeneity in Antarctic precipitation and its impact on surface mass variability

Abstract

Annually averaged precipitation in the form of snow, the dominant term of the Antarctic Ice Sheet surface mass balance, displays large spatial and temporal variability. Here we present an analysis of spatial patterns of regional Antarctic precipitation variability and their impact on integrated Antarctic surface mass balance variability simulated as part of a preindustrial 1800-year global, fully coupled Community Earth System Model simulation. Correlation and composite analyses based on this output allow for a robust exploration of Antarctic precipitation variability. We identify statistically significant relationships between precipitation patterns across Antarctica that are corroborated by climate reanalyses, regional modeling and ice core records. These patterns are driven by variability in large-scale atmospheric moisture transport, which itself is characterized by decadal- to centennial-scale oscillations around the long-term mean. We suggest that this heterogeneity in Antarctic precipitation variability has a dampening effect on overall Antarctic surface mass balance variability, with implications for regulation of Antarctic-sourced sea level variability, detection of an emergent anthropogenic signal in Antarctic mass trends and identification of Antarctic mass loss accelerations.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States). Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences; Univ. of Utrecht (Netherlands). Inst. for Marine and Atmospheric Research
  3. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Univ. of Utrecht (Netherlands); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
OSTI Identifier:
1412881
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-30709; PNNL-SA-126778
Journal ID: ISSN 1994-0424
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Cryosphere (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Cryosphere (Online); Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1994-0424
Publisher:
European Geosciences Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Fyke, Jeremy, Lenaerts, Jan T. M., and Wang, Hailong. Basin-scale heterogeneity in Antarctic precipitation and its impact on surface mass variability. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.5194/tc-11-2595-2017.
Fyke, Jeremy, Lenaerts, Jan T. M., & Wang, Hailong. Basin-scale heterogeneity in Antarctic precipitation and its impact on surface mass variability. United States. doi:10.5194/tc-11-2595-2017.
Fyke, Jeremy, Lenaerts, Jan T. M., and Wang, Hailong. 2017. "Basin-scale heterogeneity in Antarctic precipitation and its impact on surface mass variability". United States. doi:10.5194/tc-11-2595-2017. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1412881.
@article{osti_1412881,
title = {Basin-scale heterogeneity in Antarctic precipitation and its impact on surface mass variability},
author = {Fyke, Jeremy and Lenaerts, Jan T. M. and Wang, Hailong},
abstractNote = {Annually averaged precipitation in the form of snow, the dominant term of the Antarctic Ice Sheet surface mass balance, displays large spatial and temporal variability. Here we present an analysis of spatial patterns of regional Antarctic precipitation variability and their impact on integrated Antarctic surface mass balance variability simulated as part of a preindustrial 1800-year global, fully coupled Community Earth System Model simulation. Correlation and composite analyses based on this output allow for a robust exploration of Antarctic precipitation variability. We identify statistically significant relationships between precipitation patterns across Antarctica that are corroborated by climate reanalyses, regional modeling and ice core records. These patterns are driven by variability in large-scale atmospheric moisture transport, which itself is characterized by decadal- to centennial-scale oscillations around the long-term mean. We suggest that this heterogeneity in Antarctic precipitation variability has a dampening effect on overall Antarctic surface mass balance variability, with implications for regulation of Antarctic-sourced sea level variability, detection of an emergent anthropogenic signal in Antarctic mass trends and identification of Antarctic mass loss accelerations.},
doi = {10.5194/tc-11-2595-2017},
journal = {The Cryosphere (Online)},
number = 6,
volume = 11,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month =
}

Journal Article:
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  • Annually averaged precipitation in the form of snow, the dominant term of the Antarctic Ice Sheet surface mass balance, displays large spatial and temporal variability. Here we present an analysis of spatial patterns of regional Antarctic precipitation variability and their impact on integrated Antarctic surface mass balance variability simulated as part of a preindustrial 1800-year global, fully coupled Community Earth System Model simulation. Correlation and composite analyses based on this output allow for a robust exploration of Antarctic precipitation variability. We identify statistically significant relationships between precipitation patterns across Antarctica that are corroborated by climate reanalyses, regional modeling and icemore » core records. These patterns are driven by variability in large-scale atmospheric moisture transport, which itself is characterized by decadal- to centennial-scale oscillations around the long-term mean. We suggest that this heterogeneity in Antarctic precipitation variability has a dampening effect on overall Antarctic surface mass balance variability, with implications for regulation of Antarctic-sourced sea level variability, detection of an emergent anthropogenic signal in Antarctic mass trends and identification of Antarctic mass loss accelerations.« less
  • Visible-band satellite imagery is used to manually map surface brightness changes over sea ice throughout the Arctic Basin from May to mid-August over a 10-yr period. These brightness changes arc primarily due to snowmelt atop the ice cover. Using image processor techniques, parameterized albedos are estimated for each brightness class. Snowmelt begins in May in the marginal seas, progressing northward with time, finally commencing near the pole in late June. Large year-to-year differences are found in the timing of melt, exceeding one month in some regions. Parameterized albedo for most regions of the pack ice exceeds 0.70 during May, declinesmore » rapidly during June, and reaches a seasonal low of between 0.40 and 0.50 by late July. For August, regional albedos, which also include areas of open water beyond the southern pack ice limit, are up to 0. 16 lower than the corresponding values for pack ice areas only. 64 refs., 5 figs., 4 tabs.« less
  • The spatial and temporal variability of net precipitation (precipitation minus evaporation/sublimation) for Antarctica derived from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts operational analyses via the atmospheric moisture budget is assessed in comparison to a variety of glaciological and meteorological observations and datasets. For the 11-yr period 1985-95, the average continental value is 151 mm yr{sup {minus}1} water equivalent. Large regional differences with other datasets are identified, and the sources of error are considered. Interannual variability in the Southern Ocean storm tracks is found to be an important mechanism for enhanced precipitation minus evaporation (P-E) in both east and westmore » Antarctica. In relation to the present findings, an evaluation of the rawinsonde method for estimating net precipitation in east Antarctica is conducted. Estimates of P-E using synthetic rawinsondes derived from the analyses are found to compare favorably to glaciological estimates. A significant upward trend of 2.4 mm yr{sup {minus}1} is found for the Antarctic continent that is consistent with findings from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, formerly the National Meteorological Center, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research Reanalysis precipitation dataset. Despite large regional discrepancies, the general agreement on the main features of Antarctic precipitation between studies suggests that a threshold has been reached, where the assessment of the smaller terms including evaporation/sublimation and drift snow loss is required to explain the differences. 76 refs., 24 figs., 1 tab.« less
  • An underground mine in southern Illinois exposes the spatial composition of the final forest of the Springfield (No. 5) Coal swamp. The area studied is within 600 m of the Galatia channel, contemporaneous deposits that mark the course of a river that periodically flooded the surface of the adjacent peat-forming forest. A nearly pure stand of Sigillaria mamillaris is flanked on the south, the side farthest from the channel, by a pteridosperm-calamite vegetation from which Sigillaria is absent. The ecotonal contact of these two assemblages may be as narrow as 2 m wide. On the north end, the side closestmore » to the channel, the Sigillaria stand grades over a 40 m wide ecotone into a mixed lycopod-calamite vegetation with minor pteridosperms. Tree ferns and ground cover are nearly absent from all assemblages. This exposure provides a rare look at the short-term spatial heterogeneity of a Pennsylvanian-age peat-forming forest, and reveals an unexpected degree of patchiness, which is not demonstrable from most outcrop or coal-ball exposures.« less