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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2010, Article ID 327172, 14 pages
Research Article

Antarctic 20th Century Accumulation Changes Based on Regional Climate Model Simulations

1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Research Unit Potsdam, Telegrafenberg A43, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
2Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Model and Data, Bundestrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

Received 30 October 2009; Revised 3 March 2010; Accepted 6 April 2010

Academic Editor: Jürg Luterbacher

Copyright © 2010 Klaus Dethloff et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The regional climate model HIRHAM has been applied to Antarctica driven at the lateral and lower boundaries by European Reanalysis data ERA-40 for the period 1958–1998. Simulations over 4 decades, carried out with a horizontal resolution of 50 km, deliver a realistic simulation of the Antarctic atmospheric circulation, synoptic-scale pressure systems, and the spatial distribution of precipitation minus sublimation (P-E) structures. The simulated P-E pattern is in qualitative agreement with glaciological estimates. The estimated (P-E) trends demonstrate surfacemass accumulation increase at the West Antarctic coasts and reductions in parts of East Antarctica. The influence of the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) on the near-surface climate and the surface mass accumulation over Antarctica have been investigated on the basis of ERA-40 data and HIRHAM simulations. It is shown that the regional accumulation changes are largely driven by changes in the transient activity around the Antarctic coasts due to the varying AAO phases. During positive AAO, more transient pressure systems travelling towards the continent, and Western Antarctica and parts of South-Eastern Antarctica gain more precipitation and mass. Over central Antarctica the prevailing anticyclone causes a strengthening of polar desertification connected with a reduced surface mass balance in the northern part of East Antarctica.