The dominant role of extreme precipitation events in Antarctic snowfall variability
Antarctic snowfall consists of frequent clear‐sky precipitation and heavier falls from intrusions of maritime airmasses associated with amplified planetary waves. We investigate the importance of different precipitation events using the output of the RACMO2 model. Extreme precipitation events consisting of the largest 10% of daily totals are shown to contribute more than 40% of the total annual precipitation across much of the continent, with some areas receiving in excess of 60% of the total from these events. The greatest contribution of extreme precipitation events to the annual total is in the coastal areas and especially on the ice shelves, with the Amery Ice Shelf receiving 50% of its annual precipitation in less than the 10 days of heaviest precipitation. For the continent as a whole, 70% of the variance of the annual precipitation is explained by variability in precipitation from extreme precipitation events, with this figure rising to over 90% in some areas.
Authors: Turner, John, Phillips, Tony, Thamban, Meloth, Rahaman, Waliur, Marshall, Gareth, Wille, Jonathan, Favier, Vincent, Winton, Holly, Thomas, Liz, Wang, Zhaomin, van den Broeke, Michiel, Hosking, Scott, Lachlan-Cope, Thomas