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Title: Climatology and Evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula Föhn Wind‐Induced Melt Regime From 1979–2018

Warm and dry föhn winds on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) cause surface melt that can destabilize vulnerable ice shelves. Topographic funneling of these downslope winds through mountain passes and canyons can produce localized wind‐induced melt that is difficult to quantify without direct measurements. Our Föhn Detection Algorithm (FöhnDA) identifies the surface föhn signature that causes melt from measurement by 12 Automatic Weather Stations on the AP, that train a machine learning model to detect föhn in 5 km Regional Atmospheric Climate Model 2 (RACMO2.3p2) simulations and in the ERA5 reanalysis model. We estimate the fraction of AP surface melt attributed to föhn and possibly katabatic winds and identify the drivers of melt, temporal variability, and long‐term trends and evolution from 1979–2018. We find that föhn wind‐induced melt accounts for 3.1% of the total melt on the AP and can be as high at 18% close to the mountains where the winds funnel through mountain canyons. Föhn‐induced surface melt does not significantly increase from 1979–2018, despite a warmer atmosphere and more positive Southern Annular Mode. However, a significant increase (+0.1 Gt y‐1) and subsequent decrease/stabilization occur in 1979–1998 and 1999–2018, consistent with the AP warming and cooling trends during the same time periods. Föhn occurrence, more than föhn strength, drives the annual variability in föhn‐induced melt. Long‐term föhn‐induced melt trends and evolution are attributable to seasonal changes in föhn occurrence, with increased occurrence in summer, and decreased occurrence in fall, winter, and early spring over the past 20 years.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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