The signature of Southern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation patterns in Antarctic precipitation

Gareth J. Marshall, David W. J. Thompson, Michiel R. van den Broeke

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We provide the first comprehensive analysis of the relationships between large-scale patterns of Southern Hemisphere climate variability and the detailed structure of Antarctic precipitation. We examine linkages between the high spatial resolution precipitation from a regional atmospheric model and four patterns of large-scale Southern Hemisphere climate variability: the southern baroclinic annular mode, the southern annular mode, and the two Pacific-South American teleconnection patterns. Variations in all four patterns influence the spatial configuration of precipitation over Antarctica, consistent with their signatures in high-latitude meridional moisture fluxes. They impact not only the mean but also the incidence of extreme precipitation events. Current coupled-climate models are able to reproduce all four patterns of atmospheric variability but struggle to correctly replicate their regional impacts on Antarctic climate. Thus, linking these patterns directly to Antarctic precipitation variability may allow a better estimate of future changes in precipitation than using model output alone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11580-11589
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number22
Early online date6 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2017

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