A 20-year study of melt processes over Larsen C Ice Shelf using a high-resolution regional atmospheric model: Part 1, Model configuration and validation
Following collapses of the neighbouring Larsen A and B ice shelves, Larsen C has become a focus of increased attention. Determining how the prevailing meteorological conditions influence its surface melt regime is of paramount importance for understanding the dominant processes causing melt and ultimately for predicting its future. To this end, a new, high-resolution (4 km grid spacing) Met Office Unified Model (MetUM) hindcast of atmospheric conditions and surface melt processes over the central Antarctic Peninsula is introduced. The hindcast is capable of simulating observed near-surface meteorology and surface melt conditions over Larsen C. In contrast with previous model simulations, the MetUM captures the observed east-west gradient in surface melting associated with foehn winds, as well as the inter-annual variability in melt shown in previous observational studies. As exemplars, we focus on two case studies – the months preceding the collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in March 2002 and the high-foehn, high-melt period of March-May 2016 - to test the hindcast’s ability to reproduce the atmospheric effects that contributed to considerable melting during those periods. The results suggest that the MetUM hindcast is a useful tool with which to explore the dominant causes of surface melting on Larsen C.
Authors: Gilbert, E. ORCID record for E. Gilbert, Orr, A. ORCID record for A. Orr, King, J.C. ORCID record for J.C. King, Renfrew, I., Lachlan-Cope, T.A. ORCID record for T.A. Lachlan-Cope