The extraordinary March 2022 East Antarctica “heat” wave. Part I: observations and meteorological drivers

Resumen: Between March 15-19, 2022, East Antarctica experienced an exceptional heatwave with widespread 30-40° C temperature anomalies across the ice sheet. In Part I, we assessed the meteorological drivers that generated an intense atmospheric river (AR) which caused these record-shattering temperature anomalies. Here in Part II, we continue our large, collaborative study by analyzing the widespread and diverse impacts driven by the AR landfall.

These impacts included widespread rain and surface melt which was recorded along coastal areas, but this was outweighed by widespread, high snowfall accumulations resulting in a largely positive surface mass balance contribution to the East Antarctic region. An analysis of the surface energy budget indicated that widespread downward longwave radiation anomalies caused by large cloud-liquid water contents along with some scattered solar radiation produced intense surface warming. Isotope measurements of the moisture were highly elevated, likely imprinting a strong signal for past climate reconstructions. The AR event attenuated cosmic ray measurements at Concordia, something previously never observed. Finally, an extratropical cyclone west of the AR landfall likely triggered the final collapse of the critically unstable Conger Ice Shelf while further reducing an already record low sea-ice extent.

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