Snow Accumulation Variability Over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Since 1900: A Comparison of Ice Core Records With ERA‐20C Reanalysis

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Geophysical Research Letters, Vol: 44, Issue: 22

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Wang, Yetang; Thomas, Elizabeth R.; Hou, Shugui; Huai, Baojuan; Wu, Shuang-Ye; Sun, Weijun; Qi, Shanzhong; Ding, Minghu; Zhang, Yulun
American Geophysical Union; eCommons
Earth Sciences; Geology; Tectonics and Structure
article description
This study uses a set of 37 firn core records over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) to test the performance of the twentieth century from the European Centre for Medium‐Range Weather Forecasts (ERA‐20C) reanalysis for snow accumulation and quantify temporal variability in snow accumulation since 1900. The firn cores are allocated to four geographical areas demarcated by drainage divides (i.e., Antarctic Peninsula (AP), western WAIS, central WAIS, and eastern WAIS) to calculate stacked records of regional snow accumulation. Our results show that the interannual variability in ERA‐20C precipitation minus evaporation (P − E) agrees well with the corresponding ice core snow accumulation composites in each of the four geographical regions, suggesting its skill for simulating snow accumulation changes before the modern satellite era (pre‐1979). Snow accumulation experiences significantly positive trends for the AP and eastern WAIS, a negative trend for the western WAIS, and no significant trend for the central WAIS from 1900 to 2010. The contrasting trends are associated with changes in the large‐scale moisture transport driven by a deepening of the low‐pressure systems and anomalies of sea ice in the Amundsen Sea Low region.