Atmospheric Boundary Layer Dynamics Near Ross Island and Over West Antarctica.
The atmospheric boundary layer dynamics near Ross Island and over West Antarctica has been investigated. The study consists of two parts. The first part involved the use of data from ground-based remote sensing equipment (sodar and RASS), radiosondes, pilot balloons, automatic weather stations, and NOAA AVHRR satellite imagery. The second part involved the use of a high resolution boundary layer model coupled with a three-dimensional primitive equation mesoscale model to simulate the observed atmospheric boundary layer winds and temperatures. Turbulence parameters were simulated with an E-epsilon turbulence model driven by observed winds and temperatures. The observational analysis, for the first time, revealed that the airflow passing through the Ross Island area is supplied mainly by enhanced katabatic drainage from Byrd Glacier and secondarily drainage from Mulock and Skelton glaciers. The observed diurnal variation of the blocking effect near Ross Island is dominated by the changes in the upstream katabatic airflow. The synthesized analysis over West Antarctica found that the Siple Coast katabatic wind confluence zone consists of two superimposed katabatic airflows: a relatively warm and more buoyant katabatic flow from West Antarctica overlies a colder and less buoyant katabatic airflow from East Antarctica. The force balance analysis revealed that, inside the West Antarctic katabatic wind zone, the pressure gradient force associated with the blocked airflow against the Transantarctic Mountains dominates; inside the East Antarctic katabatic wind zone, the downslope buoyancy force due to the cold air overlying the sloping terrain is dominant. The analysis also shows that these forces are in geostrophic balance with the Coriolis force. An E-epsilon turbulence closure model is used to simulate the diurnal variation of sodar backscatter. The results show that the model is capable of qualitatively capturing the main features of the observed sodar backscatter. To improve the representation of the atmospheric boundary layer, a second-order turbulence closure model coupled with the input from a mesoscale model was applied to the springtime Siple Coast katabatic wind confluence zone. The simulation was able to capture the main features of the confluence zone, which were not well resolved by the mesoscale model.
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- Physics: Atmospheric Science; Remote Sensing; Physical Geography