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University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > British Antarctic Survey > The influence of the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Seas Low on the climate of West Antarctica and its representation in coupled climate model simulations
The influence of the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Seas Low on the climate of West Antarctica and its representation in coupled climate model simulations
If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Scott Hosking.
If external to BAS, please email the organiser in advance to gain access to the building
In contrast to earlier studies, we describe the climatological deep low-pressure system that exists over the South Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean, referred to as the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Seas Low (ABSL), in terms of its relative (rather than actual) central pressure by removing the background area-averaged mean sea level pressure (MSLP). In doing so, we remove much of the influence of large-scale variability across the ABSL sector region (e.g., due to the Southern Annular Mode), allowing a clearer understanding of ABSL variability and its effect on the regional climate of West Antarctica. Using ERA -Interim reanalysis fields the annual cycle of the relative central pressure of the ABSL for the period 1979 to 2011 shows a minimum (maximum) during winter (summer), differing considerably from the earlier studies based on actual central pressure which suggests a semi-annual oscillation. The annual cycle of the longitudinal position of the ABSL is insensitive to the background pressure, and shows it shifting westwards from 250° E to 220° E between summer and winter, in agreement with earlier studies. We demonstrate that ABSL variability, and in particular its longitudinal position, plays an important role in controlling the surface climate of West Antarctica and the surrounding ocean by quantifying its influence on key meteorological parameters. Examination of the ABSL annual cycle in seventeen CMIP5 climate models run with historical forcing showed that the majority of them have definite biases, especially in terms of longitudinal position, and a correspondingly poor representation of West Antarctic climate.
Website for index: http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/data/absl/
Paper in press: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00813.1
This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.
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