The relationship between the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode and Antarctic Peninsula summer temperatures: analysis of a high-resolution model climatology

The large regional summer warming on the east coast of the northern Antarctic Peninsula (AP), which has taken place since the mid-1960s, has previously been proposed to be caused by a trend in the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM). The authors utilize a high-resolution regional atmospheric model climatology (14-km grid spacing) to study the mechanisms that determine the response of the near-surface temperature to an increase in the SAM (Delta T/Delta SAM). Month-to-month variations in near-surface temperature and surface pressure are well represented by the model. It is found that north of similar to 68 degrees S, Delta T/Delta SAM is much larger on the eastern (lee) side than on the western (windward) side of the barrier. This is because of the enhanced westerly flow of relatively warm air over the barrier, which warms (and dries) further as it descends down the lee slope. The downward motion on the eastern side of the barrier causes a decrease in surface-mass balance and cloud cover. South of similar to 68 degrees S, vertical deflection across the barrier is greatly reduced and the contrast in Delta T/Delta SAM between the east and west sides of the barrier vanishes. In the northeastern part of the AP, the modeled Delta T/Delta SAM distribution is similar to the distribution derived from satellite infrared radiometer data. The region of strongest modeled temperature sensitivity to the SAM is where ice shelf collapse has recently taken place and does not extend farther south over the Larsen-C Ice Shelf.


Publication status:
Authors: Van Lipzig, Nicole P.M., Marshall, Gareth J., Orr, Andrew, King, John C.

On this site: Andrew Orr, Gareth Marshall, John King
1 January, 2008
Journal of Climate / 21
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