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  • View in gallery

    Geographic map of the Ross Ice Shelf area. AMPS terrain contours shaded every 250 m.

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    (a) SLP (contours, hPa, contour interval is 4 hPa) and σ = 0.9983 temperature (shaded, °C) and (d) 500-hPa geopotential height (m, contour interval is 60 m) at 0000 UTC 5 Apr 2004. (b),(e) As in (a),(d) but at 1800 UTC 5 Apr 2004. (c),(f) As in (a),(d) but at 1200 UTC 6 Apr 2004.

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    (a) MODIS TIR image at 0620 UTC 5 Apr 2004 and selected AWS observations of near-surface air temperature and vector wind at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004. The Gill AWS is represented by blue temperature and purple wind barb. The Lettau AWS is represented by yellow temperature. (b) MODIS cloud mask product at 0620 UTC 5 Apr 2004. Green represents clear conditions, light blue is probably clear, white is cloudy, and red is uncertain.

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    AMPS vertically integrated cloud ice (mm) at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004.

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    (a) AMPS σ = 0.9983 wind speed (shaded, m s−1) and streamlines at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004. (b) AMPS SLP (contours, hPa, contour interval is 2 hPa), σ = 0.9983 temperature (shaded, °C), and wind barbs at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004.

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    (a) Lettau AWS and AMPS nearest-gridpoint comparisons of (top) wind speed (m s−1) and (bottom) temperature (°C). (b) As in (a) but for Gill AWS wind speed, temperature, wind direction (°), and station pressure (hPa). Vertical lines represent conditions at image analysis times (0600 UTC 5 April and 0300 UTC 6 April).

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    (a) MODIS TIR image at 0340 UTC 6 Apr 2004 and selected AWS observations at 0400 UTC 6 Apr 2004. The Gill AWS is represented by yellow temperature and light blue wind barb. The Lettau AWS is represented by blue temperature and purple calm wind signal. (b) MODIS cloud mask product at 0340 UTC 6 Apr 2004. Green represents clear conditions, light blue is probably clear, white is cloudy, and red is uncertain.

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    (a) AMPS σ = 0.9983 wind speed (shaded, m s−1) and streamlines at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004. (b) As in (a) but for σ = 0.9610.

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    AMPS vertically integrated cloud ice (mm) at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004. Point A refers to the vertical profiles in Fig. 10. Cross section line A–A′ refers to Fig. 13. Cross section line A′–A″ refers to Fig. 15.

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    AMPS water vapor mixing ratio (g kg−1) at point A shown in Fig. 9 at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004 (dashed) and 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004 (solid).

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    AMPS σ = 0.8454 water vapor mixing ratio (shaded, g kg−1) and streamlines at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004.

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    (a) AMPS σ = 0.9791 wind speed (shaded, m s−1) and streamlines at 0300 UTC 6 April. (b) AMPS σ = 0.8971 vertical velocity [shaded, solid outline positive (upward vertical motion), dashed outline negative (downward vertical motion), cm s−1] and wind vectors at 0300 UTC 6 April. Cross section line A–A′ refers to Fig. 13.

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    (a) Cross section of the cloud ice mixing ratio (shaded, g kg−1), vertical velocity [contours, solid outline positive (upward vertical motion), dashed outline negative (downward vertical motion), cm s−1, contour interval is 2 cm s−1], and circulation vectors at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004. (b) As in (a) but at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004. Cross-section line shown in Figs. 9 and 12. Pink vertical line refers to the approximate location of the Dufek Coast. Blue vertical line refers to 180°.

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    (a) AMPS cloud ice mixing ratio (shaded, g kg−1) and streamlines at σ = 0.5950 at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004. (b) AMPS vertical velocity [shaded, solid outline positive (upward vertical motion), dashed outline negative (downward vertical motion), cm s−1] and wind vectors at σ = 0.5950 at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004.

  • View in gallery

    Cross section of cloud ice mixing ratio (shaded, g kg−1), vertical velocity [black contours, solid outline positive (upward vertical motion), dashed outline negative (downward vertical motion), cm s−1, contour interval is 0.25 cm s−1], temperature (blue solid contours, K, contour interval is 3 K), and circulation vectors at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004. Cross-sectional line shown in Fig. 9.

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    (a) Trajectories at σ = 0.9344 from (bottom section) 2100 UTC 5 Apr to 0600 UTC 6 Apr and (top section) 1800 UTC 5 Apr to 0900 UTC 6 Apr. Trajectories 1 and 2 are labeled. Corresponding times between trajectories indicated by connecting dark gray bars. Wind vectors at σ = 0.9344 at 0300 UTC 6 Apr, and terrain height shaded every 250 m. (b) Trajectory (top) 1 and (bottom) 2 heights (line, km) and RH with respect to ice (symbol, %) for the northern and southern trajectory sections. Height interpolated to 30-min intervals; RH output every 3 h. Double bars separate southern and northern trajectory sets.

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A Case Study of a Ross Ice Shelf Airstream Event: A New Perspective

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

A case study illustrating cloud processes and other features associated with the Ross Ice Shelf airstream (RAS), in Antarctica, is presented. The RAS is a semipermanent low-level wind regime primarily over the western Ross Ice Shelf, linked to the midlatitude circulation and formed from terrain-induced and large-scale forcing effects. An integrated approach utilizes Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery, automatic weather station (AWS) data, and Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) forecast output to study the synoptic-scale and mesoscale phenomena involved in cloud formation over the Ross Ice Shelf during a RAS event. A synoptic-scale cyclone offshore of Marie Byrd Land draws moisture across West Antarctica to the southern base of the Ross Ice Shelf. Vertical lifting associated with flow around the Queen Maud Mountains leads to cloud formation that extends across the Ross Ice Shelf to the north. The low-level cloud has a warm signature in thermal infrared imagery, resembling a surface feature of turbulent katabatic flow typically ascribed to the RAS. Strategically placed AWS sites allow assessment of model performance within and outside of the RAS signature. AMPS provides realistic simulation of conditions aloft but experiences problems at low levels due to issues with the model PBL physics. Key meteorological features of this case study, within the context of previous studies on longer time scales, are inferred to be common occurrences. The assumption that warm thermal infrared signatures are surface features is found to be too restrictive.

Corresponding author address: Daniel F. Steinhoff, Polar Meteorology Group, Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University, 1090 Carmack Rd., Columbus, OH 43210. Email: steinhoff.9@buckeyemail.osu.edu

Abstract

A case study illustrating cloud processes and other features associated with the Ross Ice Shelf airstream (RAS), in Antarctica, is presented. The RAS is a semipermanent low-level wind regime primarily over the western Ross Ice Shelf, linked to the midlatitude circulation and formed from terrain-induced and large-scale forcing effects. An integrated approach utilizes Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite imagery, automatic weather station (AWS) data, and Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) forecast output to study the synoptic-scale and mesoscale phenomena involved in cloud formation over the Ross Ice Shelf during a RAS event. A synoptic-scale cyclone offshore of Marie Byrd Land draws moisture across West Antarctica to the southern base of the Ross Ice Shelf. Vertical lifting associated with flow around the Queen Maud Mountains leads to cloud formation that extends across the Ross Ice Shelf to the north. The low-level cloud has a warm signature in thermal infrared imagery, resembling a surface feature of turbulent katabatic flow typically ascribed to the RAS. Strategically placed AWS sites allow assessment of model performance within and outside of the RAS signature. AMPS provides realistic simulation of conditions aloft but experiences problems at low levels due to issues with the model PBL physics. Key meteorological features of this case study, within the context of previous studies on longer time scales, are inferred to be common occurrences. The assumption that warm thermal infrared signatures are surface features is found to be too restrictive.

Corresponding author address: Daniel F. Steinhoff, Polar Meteorology Group, Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University, 1090 Carmack Rd., Columbus, OH 43210. Email: steinhoff.9@buckeyemail.osu.edu

1. Introduction

The Ross Ice Shelf airstream (RAS) is the name given to the semipermanent wind regime that characterizes the climate of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The RAS is a key component of low-level mass transport from Antarctica to the midlatitudes (Parish and Bromwich 1998), and southerly flow across the Ross Ice Shelf often affects weather conditions at McMurdo station (Seefeldt et al. 2003; Monaghan et al. 2005). The term “RAS” was first used in the Antarctic Regional Interactions Meteorology Experiment documentation (Antarctic RIME; Parish and Bromwich 2002), but the components that compose the RAS are well documented.

Katabatic winds are a prominent feature of the Antarctic near-surface wind regime. Parish and Bromwich (1987), van Lipzig et al. (2004), and Parish and Bromwich (2007) illustrate winter climatological streamlines of near-surface flow over Antarctica, and find “confluence zones” of large-scale drainage flow of cold air from the continental interior to lower elevations. These confluence zones represent an enhanced supply of negatively buoyant air upstream. One such confluence zone occurs just upstream (southeast) of the Ross Ice Shelf, termed the Siple Coast confluence zone (Parish and Bromwich 1986; Bromwich and Liu 1996; Liu and Bromwich 1997). Figure 1 shows the location of the Siple Coast, along with other geographical points of interest in this study. Additional confluence zones occur upstream of glacier valleys along the western Ross Ice Shelf, particularly Byrd, Mulock, and Skelton Glaciers, and contribute to the forcing of the RAS. Breckenridge et al. (1993) analyzed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) thermal–infrared (TIR) imagery from austral winter 1982, and found that over 50% of the available images feature dark (warm) signatures emanating from the glaciers along the western Ross Ice Shelf. This is likely a conservative estimate of the total number of events because cloud cover obscures some of the imagery. Warm signatures in the TIR imagery represent cold, bora-type katabatic winds draining from East Antarctica (Bromwich 1989). Bromwich (1989) resolves this paradox, stating that the turbulent katabatic flow destroys the persistent near-surface temperature inversion. This results in a warm signature at the surface, even though the total “katabatic layer” is colder than the ambient surroundings. Propagation of warm katabatic wind signatures in TIR imagery across the Ross Ice Shelf (up to 1000-km distance) has been shown through case study analysis by Bromwich (1992) and Carrasco and Bromwich (1993), and climatologically by Bromwich et al. (1992). These studies, along with numerical simulations (Bromwich et al. 1994), show that the horizontal propagation of katabatic wind signatures across great distances is supported by the synoptic-scale pressure gradient, usually resulting from cyclones over the Amundsen Sea.

Another component of the RAS is barrier winds. Barrier winds result from stably stratified air being forced up against a mountain barrier and the lack of sufficient kinetic energy to cross the barrier. Mass accumulation along the barrier results in the formation of a localized pressure gradient and eventual geostrophic adjustment so that the flow is parallel to the barrier, with the barrier to the left of the wind in the Southern Hemisphere. For the Antarctic, barrier winds are first discussed by Schwerdtfeger (1975) for the Weddell Sea along the eastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula (see also Parish 1983). O’Connor et al. (1994) illustrate barrier wind formation along the Transantarctic Mountains (western Ross Ice Shelf). Barrier winds in this region form primarily from cyclonically forced low-level easterly flow impinging upon the mountain range. Cases are presented for a synoptic-scale cyclone in the Ross Sea region and a mesoscale cyclone north of Ross Island. An example of the former is provided in a case study of a strong wind event at McMurdo by Steinhoff et al. (2008).

Recent studies have attempted to integrate katabatic winds, barrier winds, and synoptic-scale forcing into the coherent structure that is the RAS. Adams (2005) uses numerical simulations with a nonhydrostatic step-topography modeling system to discuss how topography influences the RAS, including the trapping of flow by the Transantarctic Mountains and Ross Island, and through katabatic wind generation. Parish et al. (2006) use 1 yr of Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS; Powers et al. 2003) output to analyze the structure of the RAS. Three wind speed maxima of the RAS are found: at the southern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, south of Ross Island, and at the far northern edge of the Transantarctic Mountains near Cape Adare. All three wind speed maxima likely feature topographic forcing, and the southern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf has a significant katabatic wind component. While source regions for the RAS are found in the confluence zone along Siple Coast and through glacier valleys along the Transantarctic Mountains, the spatial patterns and intensity of the RAS are largely controlled by cyclonic forcing. The RAS is a robust feature of the boundary layer, as the seasonal cycle of katabatic winds (Parish and Cassano 2003) is not found for the RAS, suggesting that large-scale forcing is significant.

The notion that large-scale forcing largely drives the RAS is further supported by the work of Seefeldt et al. (2007). They categorized AMPS output from austral autumn 2005 into four different wind regimes by matching wind speed and wind direction observations from specific AWS sites over the Ross Ice Shelf. The categories include barrier winds, strong–weak katabatic winds, and light winds. These categories appear less than 50% of the time, which may result from the episodic nature of some events, but also suggests that large-scale forcing is significant. Wind category patterns often appear sequentially, and barrier and strong katabatic wind events are strongly influenced by synoptic-scale low pressure systems on the eastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.

Seefeldt and Cassano (2008) extend the study of the low-level jets (LLJs) associated with the RAS to a climatological perspective by using self-organizing maps (SOMs) to objectively categorize wind regimes based on lower-tropospheric column-averaged wind speeds from 2001–05 AMPS output. Similar to Parish et al. (2006), three prominent LLJs are found and are termed Siple, Byrd, and Reeves. The Siple regime is located near Siple Coast and the southern tip of the Ross Ice Shelf, and is the dominant wind regime throughout the year. It is a complex feature, composed of katabatic flow from both East Antarctica and West Antarctica, blocking effects from the Transantarctic Mountains, and enhancement from synoptic-scale cyclones to the north (Bromwich and Liu 1996; Liu and Bromwich 1997). The Byrd and Reeves regimes are less defined, with the primary forcing resulting from katabatic flow down the respective glaciers.

The RAS is often illustrated visually using TIR satellite imagery, specifically the propagation of warm signatures across the Ross Ice Shelf (e.g., Carrasco and Bromwich 1993). The association of warm TIR signatures with the RAS signature is the same as that inferred for katabatic wind propagation—that turbulence associated with the wind stream destroys any surface inversion over the ice shelf, resulting in a warm signature. However, little analysis of such satellite imagery within the context of the RAS has been undertaken since the early 1990s, specifically during the Earth Observing System (EOS) era. Here, we present a case study analysis from April 2004 featuring a prominent RAS-like warm TIR signature in Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) imagery. The primary focus of the study is on moisture processes associated with the RAS event. Features associated with the wind speed maxima, specifically toward the southern portion of the Ross Ice Shelf, are also discussed. Multispectral MODIS imagery analysis, combined with automatic weather station (AWS) observations and AMPS forecast model output, results in the most detailed description of the RAS to date. The broader implications of the results from this integrated approach are discussed at the conclusion of the paper.

2. Data

For the time period of this case study, AMPS employs Polar MM5, a version of the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Mesoscale Model (Grell et al. 1995) optimized for use in polar regions by the Polar Meteorology Group at the Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University (Bromwich et al. 2001; Cassano et al. 2001). Polar MM5 includes a modified parameterization for the prediction of ice cloud fraction, improved cloud–radiation interactions, an optimal stable boundary layer treatment, improved calculation of heat transfer through snow and ice surfaces, and the addition of a fractional sea ice surface type.

AMPS output used in this case study is at 30-km resolution, on a grid domain covering Antarctica and much of the surrounding Southern Ocean. There are 31 vertical half-sigma levels, with 11 levels in the lowest 1000 m to capture the complex interactions in the planetary boundary layer. The lowest half-sigma level is about 13 m above the surface. AMPS Polar MM5 is initialized twice daily at 0000 and 1200 UTC. The initial and boundary conditions are derived from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Global Forecasting System (GFS) model. The GFS first-guess field is objectively reanalyzed with the available observations using a multiquadric technique (Nuss and Titley 1994). The observations available for assimilation into AMPS include reports from radiosondes, surface synoptic observation (SYNOP) reports, AWS observations, ship reports, and buoys. Satellite-derived cloud-track winds are also assimilated in the 90-km grid. AMPS ingests sea ice data daily from the National Snow and Ice Data Center for its fractional sea ice depiction.

All analysis is done using 12–21-h forecasts, available at 3-h intervals. These forecasts are optimal, as the most recent forecasts are used while allowing 12 h of model spinup time. Guo et al. (2003) evaluated Polar MM5 performance over Antarctica for a 1-yr period (1993) on a 60-km-resolution domain and showed that the intra- and interseasonal variabilities in pressure, temperature, wind, and moisture are well resolved. Bromwich et al. (2005) evaluated 2 yr of AMPS Polar MM5 forecasts on the 30-km domain and showed that the same variables are well resolved at synoptic time scales. Fogt and Bromwich (2008) evaluated moisture and cloud cover in AMPS from December 2003 to February 2005 by comparing model output with observations at the McMurdo and Amundsen–Scott South Pole stations. Model biases increase with height to about 250 hPa, attributed to a weaker decrease in moisture with height in AMPS compared with observations. Cloud fraction estimates by AMPS often underestimate the observations. This bias is removed by adjusting the cloud fraction algorithm. Comparisons of an AMPS “pseudo satellite” product with satellite imagery over austral summer indicate that AMPS has deficiencies in identifying low-level cloud over ice surfaces, the cause of which is related to the model microphysics scheme. AMPS fares better in representing upper-level ice cloud. In that sense, it can be implied that AMPS should fare better in representing ice cloud at all levels in the winter; however, additional study is needed for confirmation.

Surface observations are obtained from the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center (AMRC) at the University of Wisconsin—Madison (UW; information online at http://amrc.ssec.wisc.edu). Temperature, wind speed, and wind direction observations at a height of 3 m are used. UW-AWS observations are instantaneous at a 10-min frequency. Further information regarding UW automatic weather stations can be found in Stearns et al. (1993).

MODIS imagery from the Terra and Aqua satellites of the Earth Observing System (EOS) at 1-km resolution is obtained from the Level 1 and Atmosphere Archive and Distribution System Web site (LAADS Web; http://ladsweb.nascom.nasa.gov/) and processed using Man computer Interactive Data Access System (McIDAS) software. MODIS band 31, at a wavelength of approximately 11.03 μm, is used for TIR imagery analysis. For infrared wavelengths, the brightness temperature refers to the equivalent blackbody temperature, which is found by inverting the Planck function to get the temperature dependence of the radiance emitted by a blackbody (Kidder and Vonder Haar 1995). The MODIS cloud mask product, also obtained from LAADS Web, involves a battery of tests for cloud cover and clear-sky conditions using brightness temperature differences between various infrared and visible channels to determine a level of confidence that MODIS is observing a clear-sky scene. Further details regarding the MODIS cloud mask product can be found in Ackerman et al. (1998) and online (http://modis-atmos.gsfc.nasa.gov/MOD35_L2/index.html). The MODIS cloud mask product features special brightness temperature thresholds for polar nighttime conditions, which have improved cloud detection results for Antarctica. Details of these enhancements can be found in Liu et al. (2004) and Frey et al. (2008).

3. Case analysis

a. Synoptic overview

Figure 2 shows the synoptic-scale meteorological situation every 18 h between 0000 UTC 5 April and 1200 UTC 6 April 2004. The sea level pressure (SLP) and temperature from σ = 0.9983 (approximately 13 m AGL) at 0000 UTC 5 April show a low pressure complex centered off the coast of Marie Byrd Land, which sets up warm onshore flow in the Amundsen Sea and southerly flow across the Ross Ice Shelf (Fig. 2a). Weak synoptic forcing and radiative cooling over the Ross Ice Shelf results in cold temperatures near the surface. The use of sea level pressure over high-altitude portions of Antarctica is undesirable, due to errors in the assumption of a hypothetical vertical temperature profile when strong inversion conditions often exist (Schwerdtfeger 1984). However, the SLP field shown in Fig. 2 is representative of the flow pattern at the lowest model levels (not shown) and is used here on a qualitative basis.

At 1800 UTC 5 April (Fig. 2b), the low pressure region has moved just onshore over Marie Byrd Land, with weak pressure gradient forcing and cold near-surface temperatures over the Ross Ice Shelf. By 1200 UTC 6 April (Fig. 2c), the low remains nearly stationary compared to 18 h earlier, but has weakened in central pressure by about 15 hPa. Geostrophic flow over the Ross Ice Shelf is now westerly. The SLP patterns in this case study resemble SOM modes of the “high wind dominant” regime presented by Seefeldt and Cassano (2008).

The 500-hPa geopotential height field for the same 36-h sequence is shown in Figs. 2d–f. Comparison with the SLP plots shows that the cyclone undergoes the typical life cycle transformation from a baroclinic to a barotropic structure over the time period. The 500-hPa low weakens as it moves east, and by 1200 UTC 6 April the center is located offshore of Marie Byrd Land, with a ridge building into the Ross Sea from the northwest.

b. 0620 UTC 5 April 2004

The beginning of the RAS signature is represented in the thermal infrared (TIR) imagery at 0620 UTC 5 April 2004 in Fig. 3a. A warm signature emanates from the southern base of the Ross Ice Shelf northwestward, where it becomes less distinguishable west of 180°. Other features of interest include a cold signature over most of the eastern sector of the Ross Ice Shelf, and warm signatures extending outward from Byrd, Mulock, and Skelton Glaciers that coalesce into one warm signature extending northeastward toward the Ross Sea. Note that the Lettau AWS wind direction is not plotted. Detailed analysis of April 2004 observations and the site climatology indicates that readings during the event are largely bogus.

1) Cloud identification

Several means are used to determine the cloud structure of the TIR imagery in Fig. 3a. The MODIS cloud mask product at 0620 UTC 5 April is shown in Fig. 3b. The region just south of the Ross Ice Shelf and along the southern tip (Amundsen Coast) is flagged as cloudy in the cloud mask. From interpretation of the TIR image this seems reasonable, although the cloud appears to be of a “scattered” nature. The sharp transition between cloudy and generally clear conditions along a line extending eastward from the Dufek Coast is a result of the land–water mask used in the cloud mask product. Areas of the ice shelf to the north of this boundary are specified as “ocean.” Specification of the surface as land or ocean impacts the thresholds used for the 7.2–11-μm brightness temperature difference (BTD) cloud test, which is the test that flags cloud south of and in the far southern portion of the Ross Ice Shelf. The broader impact of the land–ocean mask will be discussed later. North of the Dufek Coast, into the central portion of the Ross Ice Shelf, only scattered cloud is detected. These areas are flagged as cloud by the 11–3.9-μm BTD low-cloud test, which is not dependent upon the land–ocean mask.

From the MODIS cloud mask, the warm signature in Fig. 3a is a surface feature, as only scattered cloud is detected. Figure 4 shows the AMPS-integrated cloud hydrometeors (liquid and ice) at 0600 UTC 5 April. General agreement can be seen between Fig. 4 and the cloud mask in Fig. 3b. Figure 4 shows drying between the region south of the Ross Ice Shelf and the southern portion of the Ross Ice Shelf. Similar to the cloud mask, the greater portion of the Ross Ice Shelf is cloud free. Disagreement can be seen along the western coast of the Ross Ice Shelf, north of the Dufek Coast. Explanation for the increased cloud ice quantities in the model will be presented in section 3d. However, the lack of flagged cloud in the MODIS Cloud mask, when cloud appears to be present in the TIR imagery, likely results from the land–ocean mask used in the cloud mask. Thresholds for cloud are set at a higher magnitude for ocean regions than for land regions. Therefore, the cloud mask is likely underestimating cloud along the western Ross Ice Shelf, where both AMPS and TIR imagery indicate cloud.

2) Image interpretation

Except for the very southern section of the Ross Ice Shelf and portions of the western coast south of Nimrod Glacier, most of the Ross Ice Shelf is cloud free, and the warm signature extending across the ice shelf is a surface feature. Figure 5a shows wind speeds and streamlines at σ = 0.9983 (approximately 13 m AGL). The warm signature in Fig. 3a generally corresponds with regions of wind speeds greater than 6 m s−1 in Fig. 5a. Conversely, the cold signature over the eastern portion of the Ross Ice Shelf in Fig. 3a corresponds to wind speeds of less than 6 m s−1 in Fig. 5a. The signatures in the TIR imagery reflect the influence that wind speed has on the near-surface temperature over the Ross Ice Shelf. Weak winds result in the formation of a near-surface temperature inversion, as air just above the surface cools radiatively during the polar night. Riordan (1977) used data from a 32-m tower at Plateau Station in East Antarctica from austral winter 1967 and found that the inversion strength remains relatively steady for low wind speeds, and then decreases substantially past a threshold wind speed of 6 m s−1. Lüpkes et al. (2008) modeled flow over near-100% concentration sea ice using a polar nighttime atmospheric temperature profile. A threshold 10-m wind speed value of about 4 m s−1 is found to separate inversion formation from near-surface vertical mixing. In the absence of overlying cloud, areas of weak wind speeds over the ice shelf are represented as cold signatures in the TIR imagery, as seen over the eastern portion of the Ross Ice Shelf. Increased near-surface wind speeds result in turbulent motions that prevent a near-surface temperature inversion from forming, which is the case for regions of warmer signatures in TIR imagery.

The relationship between wind speed and temperature over the ice shelf can be seen more clearly in Fig. 5b, which shows near-surface (σ = 0.9983) temperature, wind barbs, and sea level pressure. Areas of weak winds and weak synoptic forcing, primarily over the eastern Ross Ice Shelf, are colder than regions to the south and west, where higher wind speeds prevail. Warm air along the western coast of the Ross Ice Shelf results from adiabatic warming as flow descends the Transantarctic Mountains.

To gauge the performance of AMPS in capturing the near-surface conditions that characterize the TIR imagery, comparisons are done at Lettau and Gill AWS stations between observations and AMPS (nearest grid point, wind speed, and temperature logarithmically interpolated to 3-m height). Between 0000 and 1200 UTC 5 April at Lettau (Fig. 6a), observed wind speeds generally range between 6 and 14 m s−1, and AMPS wind speeds are generally in the 5.5–8 m s−1 range. Even with moderate wind speeds for both observed and model values, there is a 10°–20°C cold bias in AMPS. AMPS temperatures do not change significantly after 1200 UTC 5 April, when observed wind speeds and temperatures both decrease markedly. The wind speed sensor at Lettau may have frozen between 1200 UTC 5 April and 1200 UTC 6 April. However, wind speeds were trending lower just before 1200 UTC 5 April, and decreasing temperatures would suggest decreasing wind speeds.

The cold bias in AMPS on early 5 April may be related to the Mellor–Yamada–Janjić (MYJ) PBL scheme (Janjić 1994) used in the model, which has a shallow ∼10°C surface inversion when it is unlikely that such an inversion exists with the moderate wind speeds observed. Zilitinkevich et al. (2008) show that there is a threshold interval of Richardson number (Ri) values, 0.1 < Ri < 1.0, which separates strong mixing regimes (Ri < 0.1) from weak mixing regimes (Ri > 1.0). In the latter, under a stable stratification regime, turbulence is generally in the form of internal waves, which are capable of transporting momentum, but not heat (represented by large turbulent Prandtl number values and weak turbulent heat flux values). Therefore, thermal stratification is largely maintained. The PBL scheme is clearly not resolving the sharp transition between weak and strong mixing regimes, which is likely a function of the surface layer stability function for turbulent exchange (Lüpkes et al. 2008).

At Gill (Fig. 6b), in the center of the Ross Ice Shelf, AMPS overestimates wind speeds (about 6 m s−1, compared to about 2 m s−1 in observations), but AMPS temperatures compare well with the observations. Between 0000 and 1200 UTC 5 April, the relationship between near-surface wind speed and temperature described previously is clearly evident when comparing observations between Lettau and Gill. Higher observed wind speeds at Lettau result in warmer temperatures, whereas weak wind speeds at Gill allow for radiative cooling and colder temperatures. The situation reverses after 1200 UTC 5 April, and the conditions during these later times will be discussed in the next section. Figure 6b also shows a station pressure comparison between the observations and AMPS at Gill. AMPS captures the general trend in pressure readings throughout the time period, with errors well under 5 hPa. This comparison is representative of conditions in the region of the RAS signature during the case study. The surface pressure time series reflects changes in the total vertical column atmospheric mass. Hence, substantial errors in AMPS appear to be restricted to the lowest levels, under the influence of the PBL scheme.

In summary, the TIR imagery at 0620 UTC 5 April in Fig. 3a shows a warm signature extending northwestward across the Ross Ice Shelf that is a surface-based feature. Warm air near the surface results from turbulent mixing that prevents the formation of a near-surface temperature inversion. It can be seen that the warm RAS signature in Fig. 3a overlies Lettau AWS at this time, but is to the west of Gill AWS. As such, observed temperatures are higher for Lettau than for Gill. This situation typifies the current understanding of warm TIR signatures in relation to the RAS.

c. 0340 UTC 6 April 2004

The RAS event being discussed evolves from the warm TIR signature at the southern end of the Ross Ice Shelf to the situation shown in Fig. 7a. A warm signature in the TIR imagery narrows from the southeastern edge of the image onto the Ross Ice Shelf. A well-defined warm signature extends northward along 180° over the Ross Ice Shelf, curving eastward toward the Ross Sea. As in the earlier image, a cold signature in the TIR imagery is located over most of the eastern section of the Ross Ice Shelf, between the warm signature and Roosevelt Island. Warm signatures again extend from Byrd, Mulock, and Skelton Glaciers, appearing to merge with the prominent warm signature over the north-central Ross Ice Shelf.

1) Near-surface conditions

Casual interpretation of the Lettau and Gill wind and temperature observations in Fig. 7a and Figs. 6a and 6b indicates that the warm signature across the Ross Ice Shelf at this time is surface based. Comparing Figs. 3a and 7a, it can be seen that Lettau AWS is within the warm signature at 0620 UTC 5 April and outside of it at 0340 UTC 6 April, while the reverse holds true for Gill AWS. Correspondingly, Figs. 6a and 6b show that temperature and wind speed both decrease at Lettau AWS between images, while increases occur at Gill AWS. Figure 8a shows the AMPS wind speed and streamlines from σ = 0.9983 at 0300 UTC 6 April. Weak wind speeds (under 6 m s−1) are found over the central and eastern sections of the Ross Ice Shelf, corresponding with the cold signature in the TIR imagery, extending westward over portions of the warm TIR signature. Similar to the previous analysis time, it is likely that weak winds allow for radiational cooling and near-surface temperature inversion formation. Under the present understanding of the relationship between the RAS and TIR imagery, the warm signature over the center of the Ross Ice Shelf in Fig. 7a results from moderate wind speeds that prevent the formation of a near-surface temperature inversion. However, streamlines near 80°S in Fig. 8a are almost normal to the warm signature in the TIR imagery. Additionally, the Gill wind direction observation shown in Fig. 7a is westerly and is representative of observations in the hours leading up to and after this time (Fig. 6b). Based on the TIR imagery (Fig. 7a), AWS wind observations (Fig. 7a), and AMPS near-surface streamlines (Fig. 8a), the westerly winds near the surface appear to be of a katabatic origin. The warm signature in the TIR imagery appears to correspond better spatially with streamlines at σ = 0.9610 (approximately 292 m AGL; Fig. 8b), suggesting that the warm TIR signature is not surface based but is, instead, a low-level cloud. The southwesterly flow representative of the warm signature is undercut by the westerly katabatic winds near the surface. Support for the existence of the low-level cloud from the MODIS cloud mask product and AMPS moisture fields is presented next.

2) Cloud identification

Figure 7b shows the MODIS cloud mask for 0340 UTC 6 April. Cloud is detected along the western coast at the southern end of the Ross Ice Shelf with the 7.2–11-μm BTD cloud test, and the land–ocean mask is again an issue in cloud test results over the “ocean” section of the Ross Ice Shelf. The cloud region extending from the southern section of the Ross Ice Shelf near 180° to the north and east is flagged solely by the 11–3.9-μm BTD low-cloud test, which again is not dependent upon the land–ocean mask.

Further support for the presence of low-level cloud is shown by the AMPS column-integrated cloud hydrometeors at 0300 UTC 6 April (Fig. 9). General agreement is seen between the AMPS-integrated cloud species and the MODIS TIR imagery and cloud mask, especially for the cloudy regions south of the Ross Ice Shelf between 150°W and 150°E, and the clear region over the eastern portion of the Ross Ice Shelf, west of Roosevelt Island. It is unclear if the increased cloud ice west of the Siple Coast in AMPS is real, as the MODIS land–ocean mask may be impacting the results of the 7.2–11-μm BTD cloud test. However, interpretation of the TIR imagery in Fig. 7a indicates that the cloud ice near Siple Coast in AMPS is spurious. Similar to the previous image analysis, the land–ocean mask is likely causing the cloud mask to underestimate cloud along the western coast of the Ross Ice Shelf from the Dufek Coast northward to approximately Nimrod Glacier. The feature of interest in Fig. 9 is the “tongue” of moisture extending northward between 170°E and 180°. This feature corresponds with the warm signature over the same region in the TIR imagery. The column-integrated cloud ice content decreases with distance northward. It is unclear how accurate the AMPS column-integrated cloud species values are and what the approximate cloud ice mixing ratio threshold is for cloud detection. However, AMPS is simulating cloud ice corresponding to the warm TIR signature identified as cloud by the MODIS cloud mask. The physical mechanisms responsible for cloud formation are explored next.

d. Cloud development

1) Moisture transport

The greater amount of low-level cloud over the Ross Ice Shelf in the second analyzed image (0340 UTC 6 April) compared to the first image (0620 UTC 5 April) is related to the advection of moisture onto the ice shelf. Figure 10 shows vertical profiles of the water vapor mixing ratio for the corresponding model forecast time for each image (0600 UTC 5 April and 0300 UTC 6 April) at point A shown in Fig. 9. As expected, the greatest moisture content is in the lower troposphere at both times (peaking under 2 km AGL). The layer below about 0.5 km AGL is affected by dry foehn winds for both times. Above this, mixing ratio values for the second image time are 0.2–0.3 g kg−1 larger than the first image time. In the last section it was shown that there is an overall drying effect during descent onto the Ross Ice Shelf, represented by decreases in vertically integrated cloud ice and by the MODIS cloud mask. Still, water vapor must be present at low levels for cloud formation over the Ross Ice Shelf in the second image. Figure 11 shows the water vapor mixing ratio and streamlines at σ = 0.8454 (approximately 1214 m AGL) at 0300 UTC 6 April. Water vapor advection onto the Ross Ice Shelf is from the northeast, the source region being the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas, associated with the flow pattern from the synoptic-scale cyclone centered offshore of Marie Byrd Land.

2) Lifting mechanism and cloud formation

As flow descends onto the Ross Ice Shelf, it accelerates in the lower levels along the Dufek Coast (Fig. 12a). This low-level jet along the Dufek Coast has been identified previously by Seefeldt and Cassano (2008) in their climatological analysis of low-level jets in the Ross Ice Shelf region. In that study the jet was inferred to be a “tip jet,” identified in a study of enhanced flow off of the southern tip of Greenland by Doyle and Shapiro (1999). Similar features have been found in simulations by Smith et al. (1997) for St. Vincent, Windward Islands (deemed a “corner wind”), and by Buzzi et al. (1997) for the region off Cape Adare at the northern edge of the western Ross Sea. In the barotropic sense, these jets result from spatial differences in the conservation of the Bernoulli function, associated with flow over and around isolated topography. Wave breaking in the lee of the mountain leads to energy dissipation as a wake forms downstream. In contrast, flow over and around the tip of the terrain feature does not undergo wave breaking, conserves energy, and accelerates down the pressure gradient into a tip jet.

The low-level jet feature in Fig. 12a features flow around the topography, rather than over, and hence is not inferred to be a tip jet, but instead a “knob flow.” The knob flow phenomenon has been studied for flow around the Brooks Range on the northern coast of Alaska by Dickey (1961) and Kozo and Robe (1986). Dickey attempted to model strong zonal wind events at Barter Island as two-dimensional, nondivergent, irrotational, incompressible flow on an f plane around a cylindrical barrier, following the fluid dynamics solution of Lamb (1945). He was able to represent the flow stagnation in front of and behind the barrier, and the acceleration of flow around the cylindrical protrusion. In addition, the calculated surface pressure field compares favorably with the analyzed synoptic pressure chart for a selected case. Kozo and Robe (1986) use an extension of the methods of Dickey (1961) and a mesoscale pressure-observing network to model buoy drift in the eastern Beaufort Sea. The observed and simulated buoy drifts were only 50 km apart after 60 days and 650 km of observed drift.

The flow pattern in Fig. 12a resembles that of knob flow more so than that of a tip jet. There are similarities in the geography of and flow pattern around the Dufek Coast and the Brooks Range in Alaska, namely a knoblike protrusion along a somewhat homogenous barrier, and flow primarily around (not over) the topography. Flow approaching the protrusion of the Queen Maud Mountains is nearly parallel to the coast; only in the lowest few model levels (approximately under 100 m AGL) is there any significant downslope contribution. Additionally, for instances of tip jets in Doyle and Shapiro (1999) and Buzzi et al. (1997), the jet extends some distance downstream of the terrain feature, as flow adjusts to an approximate geostrophic balance. In Fig. 12a, flow decelerates immediately downstream of the Dufek Coast, in a similar fashion to the simulated response from the Dickey (1961) study. As suggested by Seefeldt and Cassano (2008), further study of the flow regime of the southern Ross Ice Shelf utilizing high-resolution numerical simulations is necessary in order to fully understand the physical processes responsible for development of the low-level jet.

Figure 12a indicates deceleration of flow just downstream of the Dufek Coast. The jet offshore of the Dufek Coast and associated downstream deceleration are present in the lowest 750 m. Mass continuity dictates that the deceleration be accompanied by mass convergence and upward vertical motion. Figure 12b indicates that this is indeed the case, as there is a prominent region of upward vertical motion (up to about 18 cm s−1) just downstream of the Dufek Coast at σ = 0.8971 (approximately 790 m AGL). It is suggested that this region of upward vertical motion, combined with the low-level advection of moisture from the southeast, contributes to the development of low cloud over the Ross Ice Shelf. Recall that in Fig. 10 water vapor mixing ratio values are greater for the second image (0300 UTC 6 April) compared to the first image (0600 UTC 5 April). Figures 13a and 13b show cross sections of the cloud ice mixing ratio and vertical velocity along line A–A′ shown in Figs. 9 and 12. For the first image, a region of enhanced cloud ice at the leading edge of the cross section appears to dissipate from the region of downward vertical motion near the Dufek Coast. A region of upward vertical motion is present just downstream of the Dufek Coast, similar to that found for the second image time in Fig. 12b. However, with low amounts of water vapor in the lower atmosphere, little cloud is formed in the region of upward vertical motion.

In contrast to the first image time, maximum values of cloud ice mixing ratio are present between 3 and 4 km ASL for the second image time (Fig. 13b). The presence of this cloud will be explained later. The region of upward vertical motion shown in Fig. 13b is present from near the surface to a height of approximately 2.5 km ASL, with maximum values between 500 and 1000 m ASL. Cloud ice development occurs just downstream of the upward vertical motion region in the lowest 2 km or so. It is likely that moisture-laden air advected onto the Ross Ice Shelf rises, cools, and condenses into ice cloud in association with the low-level upward vertical motion region shown in Fig. 13b. Another possible source for the low-level cloud ice is saturation due to falling precipitation. AMPS simulates precipitation downstream of 180° along the western Ross Ice Shelf coast (not shown). Precipitation from the midlevel cloud may be contributing to the increase in the cloud ice mixing ratio in lower levels.

There appears to be a thermal signature of cloud development downstream of the Dufek Coast in Fig. 7a. Brightness temperatures along the cross section are about 240 K, corresponding to temperatures in the 3–4-km layer in AMPS. This indicates that the TIR imagery is picking up the midlevel cloud deck in Fig. 13b. As indicated in Fig. 13b, this midlevel cloud exists upstream of the aforementioned upward vertical motion region. Figure 14a shows the cloud ice mixing ratio and streamlines from σ = 0.5950 (approximately 3600 m AGL). At this level, the flow is normal to the Transantarctic Mountains and cloud ice forms along the approach to the southwestern coast of the ice shelf. The upward vertical motion in this region (Fig. 14b) appears to be related to orographic effects, as there is low-level convergence just offshore due to downslope foehn winds. Cloud ice formation farther to the west, where upward vertical motion is not as prominent, may be associated with cyclonic vorticity advection in upper levels (not shown). Cloud ice mixing ratio values then decrease to the west as a result of precipitation. The portion of the cloud development signature west of 180° is flagged as cloud by the 11–3.9-μm BTD low-cloud test, indicating that the model development of low cloud downstream of the upward vertical motion region is realistic. This is an advantage of using multispectral techniques, as brightness temperatures from the TIR signature correspond to higher cloud.

3) Warm signature propagation

As described previously, the warm TIR signature in Fig. 7a is a low cloud, and not a surface-based feature typically attributed to the RAS. Figure 15 shows a cross section of the cloud ice mixing ratio, vertical velocity, and temperature along line A′–A″ in Fig. 9 at 0300 UTC 6 April. Cloud ice mixing ratio values drop off rapidly along the cross section. The cloud level drops to about 700 m, then to about 200 m by the far northern edge. The vertical drop in cloud level appears to be related to the downward vertical motion shown in the cross section, as subsidence leads to adiabatic warming and drying. This region of downward vertical motion is associated with an upper-level ridge that builds into the Ross Ice Shelf from the northwest (Fig. 2f).

In terms of the TIR signature, the brightness temperature values are consistent toward the edge of the ice shelf, seemingly contradicting the lowering of the cloud deck in AMPS. Brightness temperatures along the cross section stabilize near 249 K for the last two-thirds of the cross-section length. Analysis of temperature along this cross section from AMPS indicates that the layer between the surface and 2-km height is nearly isothermal, with values of 248–251 K (Fig. 15). The exception is a low-level inversion up to about 250 m that builds along the cross section in AMPS. However, as explained in section 3c, the near-surface inversion appears to be bogus when nearby Gill AWS temperature observations are considered. Gill temperatures during this time period are steady around 248–249 K, representative of the MODIS TIR brightness temperature and AMPS temperatures above the modeled inversion.

To illustrate the propagation of the low cloud across the ice shelf, Fig. 16a shows a trajectory analysis. Two separate trajectories begin at σ = 0.9344 (approximately 496 m AGL) for a southern and a northern section in Fig. 16a, in order to best mimic the conditions around 0300 UTC 6 April. The southern section begins at 2100 UTC 5 April and runs through 0600 UTC 6 April, and the northern section begins at 1800 UTC 5 April and runs through 0900 UTC 6 April. The combined trajectories form a pattern qualitatively similar to the warm signature in Fig. 7a. There is some discrepancy, especially with the trajectories extending farther west than the satellite signature. However, the spatial pattern of the satellite signature varies with time, and the model results depend upon the vertical level chosen (σ = 0.9344 is seen as representative), so some differences are to be expected. Figure 16a shows that the flow across the Ross Ice Shelf allows for the cloud signature to retain a coherent spatial structure. The subsidence indicated over northern portions of the ice shelf in Fig. 15 traps moisture in the low levels, preventing the cloud from “mixing out” vertically.

Figure 16b shows the height and relative humidity along the trajectories. For both trajectories, the relative humidity increases in accordance with the upward vertical motion associated with low-level convergence downstream of the Dufek Coast (around 0000 UTC 6 April). The RH remains well above 90% along the remainder of the southern section. For the northern section, relative humidity values begin above 90%, and decrease to just under 90% by 0900 UTC 6 April, as the trajectory descends, similar to the argument presented in Fig. 15.

4. Discussion and conclusions

A case is presented where a warm signature in TIR imagery across the Ross Ice Shelf, which resembles the near-surface signature of the RAS, is actually low-level cloud. Moisture is transported across West Antarctica from the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas, associated with a synoptic-scale cyclone centered near the Marie Byrd Land coast. Cloud formation over the southern portion of the Ross Ice Shelf occurs in conjunction with a lifting mechanism formed by “knob flow” and associated downstream mass convergence at low levels. Trajectory analysis indicates that the signature retains a coherent spatial structure, and subsidence associated with a building upper-level ridge traps the cloud in the lower levels.

This study is the first to analyze cloud processes associated with the RAS. The climatological relevance of the cloud signature discussed in this case remains to be determined. However, there is justification that the general structure of the cloud signature is robust in a climatological sense. Spinhirne et al. (2005) analyzed Antarctic cloud cover from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) satellite lidar for October 2003 and found a “path” of cloud fraction values greater than 0.8 (typical ocean and coastal cloud fraction values) extending from the Walgreen Coast across West Antarctica to the base of the Ross Ice Shelf. This pattern resembles the spatial pattern of the water vapor mixing ratio shown in Fig. 11. Poleward moisture transport to Antarctica is greatest in the South Pacific sector, and is associated with the Amundsen Sea low, which is a climatological feature reflecting frequent cyclone activity in the region (Bromwich et al. 1995; Bromwich and Wang 2008). Both intra- and interannual variability of moisture transport through this corridor are large and are, generally, associated with the position of the Amundsen Sea low. On the large scale, the RAS can be viewed as the downstream end of poleward moisture transport across the South Pacific and West Antarctica.

The wind speed maximum off of the Dufek Coast that leads to the formation of the lifting mechanism for cloud development is a prominent feature in the 2001–05 wind speed climatology of Seefeldt and Cassano (2008). The predominance of moisture transport and the lifting mechanism in the climatology of West Antarctica and the Ross Ice Shelf means that cloud formation similar to that studied here is likely to be a common feature. Consistent with wind speed forcing from previous studies, synoptic-scale processes are important for cloud formation in this case. The cyclone over the Marie Byrd Land coast draws moisture across West Antarctica onto the Ross Ice Shelf, and also supports the RAS pattern of flow across the ice shelf. The building ridge of high pressure from the northwest restricts cloud heights, resulting in a dark (warm) TIR signature for the cloud.

The results of this work show that the assumption used in previous RAS-related studies, that warm signatures in TIR imagery extending across the Ross Ice Shelf are solely surface features, may be incorrect. The benefit of an integrated approach to the study of the RAS, combining satellite data, AWS observations, and model output, is apparent from this analysis, as casual interpretation of AWS temperature and wind data within the context of the satellite signature suggests that a surface feature is present throughout the analysis. Future efforts toward better understanding the RAS include an extension of the warm TIR signature analysis presented here to a longer time period in order to gain a firm grasp of the climatological context of this case. More detailed study of the individual atmospheric phenomena, in particular, moisture transport across West Antarctica and the dynamics of the Dufek Coast wind maximum, is desirable. To better simulate this event, not only would higher spatial resolution be beneficial, higher spatial resolution and a PBL scheme that accurately represents wind and temperature over flat ice surfaces with weak forcing would be necessary.

Acknowledgments

This research is supported by the National Science Foundation via UCAR Subcontract S01-22901 and Grant NSF-ANT-0636523 to DHB. Matthew Lazzara (SSEC, University of Wisconsin—Madison) provided guidance with McIDAS. Helpful discussions with Timo Vihma (FMI) and comments from three anonymous reviewers significantly improved the manuscript.

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Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Geographic map of the Ross Ice Shelf area. AMPS terrain contours shaded every 250 m.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

(a) SLP (contours, hPa, contour interval is 4 hPa) and σ = 0.9983 temperature (shaded, °C) and (d) 500-hPa geopotential height (m, contour interval is 60 m) at 0000 UTC 5 Apr 2004. (b),(e) As in (a),(d) but at 1800 UTC 5 Apr 2004. (c),(f) As in (a),(d) but at 1200 UTC 6 Apr 2004.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

(a) MODIS TIR image at 0620 UTC 5 Apr 2004 and selected AWS observations of near-surface air temperature and vector wind at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004. The Gill AWS is represented by blue temperature and purple wind barb. The Lettau AWS is represented by yellow temperature. (b) MODIS cloud mask product at 0620 UTC 5 Apr 2004. Green represents clear conditions, light blue is probably clear, white is cloudy, and red is uncertain.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

AMPS vertically integrated cloud ice (mm) at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

(a) AMPS σ = 0.9983 wind speed (shaded, m s−1) and streamlines at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004. (b) AMPS SLP (contours, hPa, contour interval is 2 hPa), σ = 0.9983 temperature (shaded, °C), and wind barbs at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.

(a) Lettau AWS and AMPS nearest-gridpoint comparisons of (top) wind speed (m s−1) and (bottom) temperature (°C). (b) As in (a) but for Gill AWS wind speed, temperature, wind direction (°), and station pressure (hPa). Vertical lines represent conditions at image analysis times (0600 UTC 5 April and 0300 UTC 6 April).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.

(a) MODIS TIR image at 0340 UTC 6 Apr 2004 and selected AWS observations at 0400 UTC 6 Apr 2004. The Gill AWS is represented by yellow temperature and light blue wind barb. The Lettau AWS is represented by blue temperature and purple calm wind signal. (b) MODIS cloud mask product at 0340 UTC 6 Apr 2004. Green represents clear conditions, light blue is probably clear, white is cloudy, and red is uncertain.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 8.
Fig. 8.

(a) AMPS σ = 0.9983 wind speed (shaded, m s−1) and streamlines at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004. (b) As in (a) but for σ = 0.9610.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 9.
Fig. 9.

AMPS vertically integrated cloud ice (mm) at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004. Point A refers to the vertical profiles in Fig. 10. Cross section line A–A′ refers to Fig. 13. Cross section line A′–A″ refers to Fig. 15.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 10.
Fig. 10.

AMPS water vapor mixing ratio (g kg−1) at point A shown in Fig. 9 at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004 (dashed) and 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004 (solid).

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 11.
Fig. 11.

AMPS σ = 0.8454 water vapor mixing ratio (shaded, g kg−1) and streamlines at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 12.
Fig. 12.

(a) AMPS σ = 0.9791 wind speed (shaded, m s−1) and streamlines at 0300 UTC 6 April. (b) AMPS σ = 0.8971 vertical velocity [shaded, solid outline positive (upward vertical motion), dashed outline negative (downward vertical motion), cm s−1] and wind vectors at 0300 UTC 6 April. Cross section line A–A′ refers to Fig. 13.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 13.
Fig. 13.

(a) Cross section of the cloud ice mixing ratio (shaded, g kg−1), vertical velocity [contours, solid outline positive (upward vertical motion), dashed outline negative (downward vertical motion), cm s−1, contour interval is 2 cm s−1], and circulation vectors at 0600 UTC 5 Apr 2004. (b) As in (a) but at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004. Cross-section line shown in Figs. 9 and 12. Pink vertical line refers to the approximate location of the Dufek Coast. Blue vertical line refers to 180°.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 14.
Fig. 14.

(a) AMPS cloud ice mixing ratio (shaded, g kg−1) and streamlines at σ = 0.5950 at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004. (b) AMPS vertical velocity [shaded, solid outline positive (upward vertical motion), dashed outline negative (downward vertical motion), cm s−1] and wind vectors at σ = 0.5950 at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 15.
Fig. 15.

Cross section of cloud ice mixing ratio (shaded, g kg−1), vertical velocity [black contours, solid outline positive (upward vertical motion), dashed outline negative (downward vertical motion), cm s−1, contour interval is 0.25 cm s−1], temperature (blue solid contours, K, contour interval is 3 K), and circulation vectors at 0300 UTC 6 Apr 2004. Cross-sectional line shown in Fig. 9.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

Fig. 16.
Fig. 16.

(a) Trajectories at σ = 0.9344 from (bottom section) 2100 UTC 5 Apr to 0600 UTC 6 Apr and (top section) 1800 UTC 5 Apr to 0900 UTC 6 Apr. Trajectories 1 and 2 are labeled. Corresponding times between trajectories indicated by connecting dark gray bars. Wind vectors at σ = 0.9344 at 0300 UTC 6 Apr, and terrain height shaded every 250 m. (b) Trajectory (top) 1 and (bottom) 2 heights (line, km) and RH with respect to ice (symbol, %) for the northern and southern trajectory sections. Height interpolated to 30-min intervals; RH output every 3 h. Double bars separate southern and northern trajectory sets.

Citation: Monthly Weather Review 137, 11; 10.1175/2009MWR2880.1

* Byrd Polar Research Center Contribution Number 1380.

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