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  1. Abstract. Atmospheric rivers (ARs) transport large amounts of moisture from the mid- to high-latitudes and they are a primary driver of the most extremesnowfall events, along with surface melting, in Antarctica. In this study, we characterize the climatology and surface impacts of ARs on WestAntarctica, focusing on the Amundsen Sea Embayment and Marie Byrd Land. First, we develop a climatology of ARs in this region, using anAntarctic-specific AR detection tool combined with theModern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2) and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Reanalysis v5 (ERA5) atmospheric reanalyses. We find that while ARs are infrequent (occurring 3 % of the time), they cause intense precipitation in short periods of time and account for 11 % of the annual surface accumulation. They are driven by the coupling of a blocking high over the Antarctic Peninsula with a low-pressure system known as the Amundsen Sea Low. Next, we use observations from automatic weather stations on Thwaites Eastern Ice Shelf with the firn model SNOWPACK and interferometric reflectometry (IR) to examine a case study of three ARs that made landfall in rapid succession from 2 to 8 February 2020, known as an AR family event. While accumulation dominates the surface impacts of the eventmore »on Thwaites Eastern Ice Shelf (> 100 kg m−2 or millimeters water equivalent), we find small amounts of surface melt as well (< 5 kg m−2). The results presented here enable us to quantify the past impacts of ARs on West Antarctica's surface mass balance (SMB) and characterize their interannual variability and trends, enabling a better assessment of future AR-driven changes in the SMB.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Atmospheric rivers (ARs) that reach the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) transport anomalous moisture from lower latitudes and can impact the AIS via extreme precipitation and increased downward longwave radiation. ARs contribute significantly to the interannual variability of precipitation over the AIS and thus are likely to play a key role in understanding future changes in the surface mass balance of the AIS. Dronning Maud Land (DML) is one of four maxima in AR frequency over coastal East Antarctica, with AR precipitation explaining 77% of the interannual variability in precipitation for this region. We employ a 16‐node self‐organizing map (SOM) trained with MERRA‐2 sea‐level pressure anomalies to identify synoptic‐scale environments associated with landfalling ARs in and around DML. Node composites of atmospheric variables reveal common drivers of precipitation associated with ARs reaching DML including anomalous high‐low surface pressure couplets, anomalously high integrated water vapor, and coastal barrier jets. Using a quasi‐geostrophic framework, we find that upward vertical motion associated with the occlusion process of attendant cyclones dominates atmospheric lift in AR environments. We further identify mechanisms that explain the variability in AR precipitation intensity across nodes, such as the lift associated with the occlusion process of attendant cyclones and themore »spatial coincidence of ascent induced by the occlusion process and frontogenesis. The latter suggests that ARs making landfall during the mature phase of cyclogenesis result in higher precipitation intensity compared to landfalling ARs that occur during the occluded phase.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 25, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Atmospheric rivers (ARs) impacting western North America are analyzed under climate intervention applying stratospheric aerosol injections (SAI) using simulations produced by the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model. Sulfur dioxide injections are strategically placed to maintain present-day global, interhemispheric, and equator-to-pole surface temperatures between 2020 and 2100 using a high forcing climate scenario. Three science questions are addressed: (1) How will western North American ARs change by the end of the century with SAI applied, (2) How is this different from 2020 conditions, and (3) How will the results differ with no future climate intervention. Under SAI, ARs are projected to increase by the end of the 21st century for southern California and decrease in the Pacific Northwest and coastal British Columbia, following changes to the low-level wind. Compared to 2020 conditions, the increase in ARs is not significant. The character of AR precipitation changes under geoengineering results in fewer extreme rainfall events and more moderate ones.

  4. Abstract

    The effects of differences in climate base state are related to processes associated with the present‐day South Asian monsoon simulations in the Energy Exascale Earth System Model version 2 (E3SMv2) and the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2). Though tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean base state sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are over 1°C cooler in E3SMv2 compared to CESM2, and there is an overall reduction of Indian sector precipitation, the pattern of South Asian monsoon precipitation is similar in the two models. Monsoon‐ENSO teleconnections, dynamically linked by the large‐scale east‐west atmospheric circulation, are reduced in E3SMv2 compared to CESM2. In E3SMv2, this is related to cooler tropical SSTs and ENSO amplitude that is less than half that in CESM2. Comparison to a tropical Pacific pacemaker experiment shows, to a first order, that the base state SSTs and ENSO amplitude contribute roughly equally to lower amplitude monsoon‐ENSO teleconnections in E3SMv2.