A positive trend in western Antarctic Peninsula precipitation over the last 50 years reflecting regional and Antarctic-wide atmospheric circulation changes
In situ observations of precipitation days (days when snow or rain was reported in routine synoptic observations) from Faraday/Vernadsky station on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, and fields from the 40 year European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts re-analysis (ERA-40) project are used to investigate precipitation and atmospheric circulation changes around the Antarctic Peninsula. It is shown that the number of precipitation days is a good proxy for mean sea-level pressure (MSLP) over the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Sea. The annual total of precipitation days at the station has been increasing at a statistically significant rate of +12.4 days decade−1 since the early 1950s, with the greatest increase taking place during the summer and autumn. This is the time of year when the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) has experienced its greatest shift to a positive phase, with MSLP values decreasing in the Antarctic coastal zone. The lower pressures in the circumpolar trough have resulted in greater ascent and increased precipitation at Faraday/Vernadsky.
Authors: Turner, John, Lachlan-Cope, Tom, Colwell, Steve, Marshall, Gareth J.