A climatological analysis of high-precipitation events in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, and associated large-scale atmospheric conditions

Welker, Christoph Simon; Martius, Olivia; Froidevaux, Paul Arnaud; Reijmer, Carleen H.; Fischer, H. (2014). A climatological analysis of high-precipitation events in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, and associated large-scale atmospheric conditions. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 119(21), pp. 11932-11954. American Geophysical Union 10.1002/2014JD022259

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The link between high precipitation in Dronning Maud Land (DML), Antarctica, and the large-scale atmospheric circulation is investigated using ERA-Interim data for 1979–2009. High-precipitation events are analyzed at Halvfarryggen situated in the coastal region of DML and at Kohnen Station located in its interior. This study further includes a comprehensive comparison of high precipitation in ERA-Interim with precipitation data from the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) and snow accumulation measurements from automatic weather stations (AWSs), with the limitations of such a comparison being discussed. The ERA-Interim and AMPS precipitation data agree very well. However, the correspondence between high precipitation in ERA-Interim and high snow accumulation at the AWSs is relatively weak. High-precipitation events at both Halvfarryggen and Kohnen are typically associated with amplified upper level waves. This large-scale atmospheric flow pattern is preceded by the downstream development of a Rossby wave train from the eastern South Pacific several days before the precipitation event. At the surface, a cyclone located over the Weddell Sea is the main synoptic ingredient for high precipitation both at Halvfarryggen and at Kohnen. A blocking anticyclone downstream is not a requirement for high precipitation per se, but a larger share of blocking occurrences during the highest-precipitation days in DML suggests that these blocks strengthen the vertically integrated water vapor transport (IVT) into DML. A strong link between high precipitation and the IVT perpendicular to the local orography suggests that IVT could be used as a “proxy” for high precipitation, in particular over DML's interior.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Impact
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

Graduate School:

Graduate School of Climate Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Welker, Christoph Simon; Romppainen-Martius, Olivia; Froidevaux, Paul Arnaud and Fischer, Hubertus


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel
500 Science > 530 Physics




American Geophysical Union




Doris Rätz

Date Deposited:

21 Nov 2014 08:04

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:38

Publisher DOI:






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