A Mesoscale Modeling Study of the Atmospheric Circulation of High Southern Latitudes

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  • 1 Polar Meteorology Group, Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio
  • | 2 Polar Meteorology Group, Byrd Polar Research Center, and Atmospheric Sciences Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
  • | 3 Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
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Abstract

The meteorology of high Southern latitudes during winter is simulated using a cloud-free version of The Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model version 4 (MM4) with a 100-km horizontal resolution. Comparisons between idealized simulations of Antarctica with MM4 and with the mesoscale model of Parish and Waight reveal that both models produce similarly realistic velocity fields in the boundary layer. The latter model tends to produce slightly faster drainage winds over East Antarctica. The intensity of the katabatic winds produced by MM4 is sensitive to parameterizations of boundary layer fluxes. Two simulation are performed with MM4 using analyses from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts for June 1988 as initial and boundary conditions. A simulation of the period from 0000 UTC 2 June to 0000 UTC 8 June produces realistic synoptic phenomena including ridge development over East Antarctica, frontogenesis over the Amundsen Sea, and a katabatic surge over the Ross Ice Shelf. The simulated two-averaged fields for June 1988, particularly that of a 500-hPa height, are in good agreement with time-averaged fields analyzed by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The results of the simulations provide detailed features of the Antarctic winter boundary layer along the steeply sloping terrain. Highest boundary layer wind speeds averaged over the month-long simulation are approximately 20 m s−1. The lack of latent heating in the simulations apparently results in some bias in the results. In particular, the cloud-free version of MM4 underpredicts the intensity of lows in the sea level pressure field.

Abstract

The meteorology of high Southern latitudes during winter is simulated using a cloud-free version of The Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model version 4 (MM4) with a 100-km horizontal resolution. Comparisons between idealized simulations of Antarctica with MM4 and with the mesoscale model of Parish and Waight reveal that both models produce similarly realistic velocity fields in the boundary layer. The latter model tends to produce slightly faster drainage winds over East Antarctica. The intensity of the katabatic winds produced by MM4 is sensitive to parameterizations of boundary layer fluxes. Two simulation are performed with MM4 using analyses from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts for June 1988 as initial and boundary conditions. A simulation of the period from 0000 UTC 2 June to 0000 UTC 8 June produces realistic synoptic phenomena including ridge development over East Antarctica, frontogenesis over the Amundsen Sea, and a katabatic surge over the Ross Ice Shelf. The simulated two-averaged fields for June 1988, particularly that of a 500-hPa height, are in good agreement with time-averaged fields analyzed by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. The results of the simulations provide detailed features of the Antarctic winter boundary layer along the steeply sloping terrain. Highest boundary layer wind speeds averaged over the month-long simulation are approximately 20 m s−1. The lack of latent heating in the simulations apparently results in some bias in the results. In particular, the cloud-free version of MM4 underpredicts the intensity of lows in the sea level pressure field.

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