Precipitation pathways for five new ice core sites in Ellsworth Land, West Antarctica

Ice cores provide a wealth of information about past climate and atmospheric circulation however a good understanding of the precipitation patterns, potential source regions and transport pathways is essential in their interpretation. Here we investigate the precipitation pathways for a transect of five new ice cores drilled in the southern Antarctic Peninsula and Ellsworth Land. We utilize in situ observations from automatic weather stations to confirm that the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts ERA-Interim reanalysis data adequately captures annual and sub-annual variability, with evidence of a slight cold bias in the 2 m temperatures. Back trajectory analysis, from the British Atmospheric Data Centre trajectory service, reveals that warm and snowy years are associated with air masses that originate (5 days before reaching the site) from the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Sea, while cold and dry years are associated with air masses from the Antarctic continent. There is a clear seasonal migration in the trajectories at each site, reflecting the east to west migration of the Amundsen Sea Low, known to have a strong influence on climate in this region.


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Authors: Thomas, Elizabeth R ORCIDORCID record for Elizabeth R Thomas, Bracegirdle, Thomas J ORCIDORCID record for Thomas J Bracegirdle

On this site: Liz Thomas, Thomas Bracegirdle
6 April, 2015
Climate Dynamics / 44
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