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Title: Large‐Scale Atmospheric Drivers of Snowfall Over Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica

High snowfall events on Thwaites Glacier (TG, West Antarctica) are a key influencer of its mass balance, and can act to mitigate sea level rise due to ocean warming‐induced ice loss. We use the output of a high‐resolution regional climate model, RACMO2, in conjunction with MERRA‐2 and ERA5 atmospheric reanalyses for the period 1980–2015 and show that there is a pronounced seasonal cycle in snowfall over TG, driven by the Amundsen Sea Low (ASL). We find that the total annual snowfall does not correlate significantly with the Southern Annular Mode or El Niño Southern Oscillation, but it does relate to the zonal wave three pattern over Antarctica through the coupling of the ASL with a blocking high over the Antarctic Peninsula during high snowfall events. Our results highlight that atmospheric circulation and consequent high snowfall events on TG are highly variable, and recognizing their future change will aid to improve predictions of mass balance.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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