Katabatic winds and polynya dynamics at Coats Land, Antarctica.

Ebner, Lars, Heinemann, G., Haid, V. and Timmermann, R. (2014) Katabatic winds and polynya dynamics at Coats Land, Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 26 (3). pp. 309-326. DOI 10.1017/S0954102013000679.

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Mesoscale model simulations were conducted for the Weddell Sea region for the autumn and winter periods of 2008 using a high-resolution, limited-area, non-hydrostatic atmospheric model. A sea ice–ocean model was run with enhanced horizontal resolution and high-resolution forcing data of the atmospheric model. Daily passive thermal and microwave satellite data was used to derive the polynya area in the Weddell Sea region. The focus of the study is on the formation of polynyas in the coastal region of Coats Land, which is strongly affected by katabatic flows. The polynya areas deduced from two independent remote sensing methods and data sources show good agreement, while the results of the sea ice simulation show some weaknesses. Linkages between the pressure gradient force composed of a katabatic and a synoptic component, offshore wind regimes and polynya area are identified. It is shown that the downslope surface offshore wind component of Coats Land is the main forcing factor for polynya dynamics, which is mainly steered by the offshore pressure gradient force, where the katabatic force is the dominant term. We find that the synoptic pressure gradient is opposed to the katabatic force during major katabatic wind events.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: atmospheric modelling; boundary layer; sea ice–ocean interaction; Weddell Sea
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Cambridge Univ. Press
Projects: Transdrift, Laptev Sea System
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2014 12:12
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2015 11:30
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/25347

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