Katabatic wind propagation over the western Ross Sea observed using ERS-1 scatterometer data
Wind fields derived from ERS-1 scatterometer data, acquired over the open water present in the western Ross Sea during the summer season, are used to study the patterns of mesoscale atmospheric flow connected with surges of katabatic air from the Terra Nova Bay convergence zone, located in the coastal region of Victoria Land. These katabatic winds may turn northward but also southward, or divide into separate northward- and southward-turning components; the latter situation is illustrated by a detailed case study. Analysis of concurrent AWS data, suggests that the most likely mechanism for the observed southward turning is the existence of a highly-localised low pressure centre south of Terra Nova Bay. Comparison of multitemporal ERS-1 scatterometer wind fields with AWS wind measurements demonstrate that the satellite data are: (i) able to correctly portray changes in mesoscale circulation patterns, and (ii) suitable for the routine monitoring of winds over open water around the Antarctic coastline, despite a less than ideal temporal coverage.