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Changes in Antarctic temperature, wind and precipitation in response to the Antarctic Oscillation

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Output of a 14 year integration with a high-resolution (55 km × 55 km) regional atmospheric climate model is used to study the response of Antarctic near-surface climate to the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO), the periodical strengthening and weakening of the circumpolar vortex in the Southern Hemisphere. In spite of the relatively short record, wind, temperature and precipitation show widespread and significant AAO-related signals. When the vortex is strong (high AAO index), northwesterly flow anomalies cause warming over the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) and adjacent regions in West Antarctica and the Weddell Sea. In contrast, cooling occurs in East Antarctica, the eastern Ross Ice Shelf and parts of Marie Byrd Land. Most of the annual temperature signal stems from the months March–August. The spatial distribution of the precipitation response to changes in the AAO does not mirror temperature changes but is in first order determined by the direction of flow anomalies with respect to the Antarctic topography. When the vortex is strong (high AAO index), the western AP becomes wetter, while the Ross Ice Shelf, parts of West Antarctica and the Lambert Glacier basin, East Antarctica, become drier.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-06-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

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