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Flavors of Antarctic atmospheric rivers and the modes of variability that matter

Presentation Date
Monday, December 13, 2021 at 8:15am
Convention Center - Room 283-285



Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are long, narrow bands of moisture that transport moisture from lower to higher latitudes and are key contributors to both regional and global water cycles. At high latitudes, ARs manifest as moisture intrusions, are often attached to synoptic scale systems, and are able to produce significant amounts of precipitation in a matter of hours or days. Depending on AR locale and characteristics, they act to either increase or decrease glacial mass via snow accumulation or melt events. Understanding Antarctic ARs, as well as the large-scale teleconnections and modes of variability that favor them, is critically important to projecting glacial mass balance now, and for future climate scenarios. Using the MERRA-2 and ERA-5 reanalysis, we present different flavors of ARs impacting a variety of regions around Antarctica by first evaluating typical metrics such as frequency, duration, and climatology, and second, decomposing teleconnections potentially driving them. Different modes of variability will be shown, including the SAM, PSA, and PDO, and their relationship to AR characteristics, such as precipitation, will be explored. We will also evaluate a variety of ARDT (Atmospheric River Detection Tools) from the Atmospheric River Tracking Method Intercomparison Project (ARTMIP) and show the importance of ARDT design, in particular, for continental glacier impacts.

Atmospheric Sciences
Funding Program Area(s)