Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar
Wet ‘n’ Wild Antarctica: mapping small-scale climate processes in coastal Antarctica combining climate models and observations
Jan Lenaerts, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder
Antarctica is known as the coldest, driest, and windiest continent on Earth. But along its periphery, sharp topography invokes spectacular climate gradients. Coastal mountain ranges, directed perpendicular to the prevalent atmospheric flow, catch massive snowfall amounts on their windward side, leaving their leeward side much drier. Topography also strongly controls the surface wind field, which in turn impacts snow redistribution, erosion, and sublimation, as well as turbulent mixing processes in the atmosphere. In this talk, I will show that we can map and understand these features using a combination of high-resolution climate models, remote sensing, and field observations. Finally, the impacts of these climate gradients for ice shelf and ice sheet snow and firn conditions, hydrology, and mass balance will be discussed.