Climate and surface mass balance of coastal West Antarctica resolved by regional climate modelling

Jan T.M. Lenaerts, Stefan R.M. Ligtenberg, Brooke Medley, Willem Jan Van De Berg, Hannes Konrad, Julien P. Nicolas, J. Melchior Van Wessem, Luke Trusel, Robert Mulvaney, Rebecca J. Tuckwell, Anna E. Hogg, Elizabeth R. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

West Antarctic climate and surface mass balance (SMB) records are sparse. To fill this gap, regional atmospheric climate modelling is useful, providing that such models are employed at sufficiently high horizontal resolution and coupled with a snow model. Here we present the results of a high-resolution (5.5 km) regional atmospheric climate model (RACMO2) simulation of coastal West Antarctica for the period 1979-2015. We evaluate the results with available in situ weather observations, remote-sensing estimates of surface melt, and SMB estimates derived from radar and firn cores. Moreover, results are compared with those from a lower-resolution version, to assess the added value of the resolution. The high-resolution model resolves small-scale climate variability invoked by topography, such as the relatively warm conditions over ice-shelf grounding zones, and local wind speed accelerations. Surface melt and SMB are well reproduced by RACMO2. This dataset will prove useful for picking ice core locations, converting elevation changes to mass changes, for driving ocean, ice-sheet and coupled models, and for attributing changes in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and shelves to changes in atmospheric forcing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-41
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Glaciology
Volume59
Issue number76pt1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

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regional climate
mass balance
climate modeling
climate
ice shelf
ice sheet
melt
atmospheric modeling
firn
atmospheric forcing
ice core
snow
wind velocity
Antarctica
radar
topography
remote sensing
weather
ocean
simulation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this

Lenaerts, J. T. M., Ligtenberg, S. R. M., Medley, B., Van De Berg, W. J., Konrad, H., Nicolas, J. P., ... Thomas, E. R. (2018). Climate and surface mass balance of coastal West Antarctica resolved by regional climate modelling. Annals of Glaciology, 59(76pt1), 29-41. https://doi.org/10.1017/aog.2017.42
Lenaerts, Jan T.M. ; Ligtenberg, Stefan R.M. ; Medley, Brooke ; Van De Berg, Willem Jan ; Konrad, Hannes ; Nicolas, Julien P. ; Van Wessem, J. Melchior ; Trusel, Luke ; Mulvaney, Robert ; Tuckwell, Rebecca J. ; Hogg, Anna E. ; Thomas, Elizabeth R. / Climate and surface mass balance of coastal West Antarctica resolved by regional climate modelling. In: Annals of Glaciology. 2018 ; Vol. 59, No. 76pt1. pp. 29-41.
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Lenaerts, JTM, Ligtenberg, SRM, Medley, B, Van De Berg, WJ, Konrad, H, Nicolas, JP, Van Wessem, JM, Trusel, L, Mulvaney, R, Tuckwell, RJ, Hogg, AE & Thomas, ER 2018, 'Climate and surface mass balance of coastal West Antarctica resolved by regional climate modelling', Annals of Glaciology, vol. 59, no. 76pt1, pp. 29-41. https://doi.org/10.1017/aog.2017.42

Climate and surface mass balance of coastal West Antarctica resolved by regional climate modelling. / Lenaerts, Jan T.M.; Ligtenberg, Stefan R.M.; Medley, Brooke; Van De Berg, Willem Jan; Konrad, Hannes; Nicolas, Julien P.; Van Wessem, J. Melchior; Trusel, Luke; Mulvaney, Robert; Tuckwell, Rebecca J.; Hogg, Anna E.; Thomas, Elizabeth R.

In: Annals of Glaciology, Vol. 59, No. 76pt1, 01.07.2018, p. 29-41.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Ligtenberg, Stefan R.M.

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AU - Konrad, Hannes

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AU - Van Wessem, J. Melchior

AU - Trusel, Luke

AU - Mulvaney, Robert

AU - Tuckwell, Rebecca J.

AU - Hogg, Anna E.

AU - Thomas, Elizabeth R.

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N2 - West Antarctic climate and surface mass balance (SMB) records are sparse. To fill this gap, regional atmospheric climate modelling is useful, providing that such models are employed at sufficiently high horizontal resolution and coupled with a snow model. Here we present the results of a high-resolution (5.5 km) regional atmospheric climate model (RACMO2) simulation of coastal West Antarctica for the period 1979-2015. We evaluate the results with available in situ weather observations, remote-sensing estimates of surface melt, and SMB estimates derived from radar and firn cores. Moreover, results are compared with those from a lower-resolution version, to assess the added value of the resolution. The high-resolution model resolves small-scale climate variability invoked by topography, such as the relatively warm conditions over ice-shelf grounding zones, and local wind speed accelerations. Surface melt and SMB are well reproduced by RACMO2. This dataset will prove useful for picking ice core locations, converting elevation changes to mass changes, for driving ocean, ice-sheet and coupled models, and for attributing changes in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and shelves to changes in atmospheric forcing.

AB - West Antarctic climate and surface mass balance (SMB) records are sparse. To fill this gap, regional atmospheric climate modelling is useful, providing that such models are employed at sufficiently high horizontal resolution and coupled with a snow model. Here we present the results of a high-resolution (5.5 km) regional atmospheric climate model (RACMO2) simulation of coastal West Antarctica for the period 1979-2015. We evaluate the results with available in situ weather observations, remote-sensing estimates of surface melt, and SMB estimates derived from radar and firn cores. Moreover, results are compared with those from a lower-resolution version, to assess the added value of the resolution. The high-resolution model resolves small-scale climate variability invoked by topography, such as the relatively warm conditions over ice-shelf grounding zones, and local wind speed accelerations. Surface melt and SMB are well reproduced by RACMO2. This dataset will prove useful for picking ice core locations, converting elevation changes to mass changes, for driving ocean, ice-sheet and coupled models, and for attributing changes in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and shelves to changes in atmospheric forcing.

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Lenaerts JTM, Ligtenberg SRM, Medley B, Van De Berg WJ, Konrad H, Nicolas JP et al. Climate and surface mass balance of coastal West Antarctica resolved by regional climate modelling. Annals of Glaciology. 2018 Jul 1;59(76pt1):29-41. https://doi.org/10.1017/aog.2017.42