Understanding Antarctic Peninsula precipitation distribution and variability using a numerical weather prediction model
Daily precipitation fields and annual means from the European Centre
for Medium-range Weather Forecasts re-analysis exercise are used to examine the distribution
and variability of precipitation across the Antarctic Peninsula. The annual mean
precipitation field from the model agrees well with the available ice-core data and suggests
that the maximum accumulation for the area is on the western side of the barrier
at about the 200 m level where the annual total is close to 1.3 m w.e. The Peninsula is shown
to be a very effective barrier to the zonal movement of precipitati ng weather systems,
which results in quite different atmospheric flow regimes being responsible [or significant
precipitation events on either side of the divide. Frontal depressions are the primary
source of large daily snowfall totals on both sides of the Peninsula. On the southern coast
of the Bellingshausen Sea, major snowfall events are often linked to strong northerly flow
when the atmospheric circulation is blocked. Predominantly northerly flow is also responsible
for significant snowfall on the Ronne Ice Shelf, which often occurs in association
with lee cyclogenesis events to the east of the Peninsula.
Authors: Turner, John, Leonard, Steven, Lachlan-Cope, Tom, Marshall, Gareth J.