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Norwegian-American Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica

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Nested-Grid model analyses by Colorado State University

Science Objectives

  • Model analyses of climate from global to regional to micro-scales
  • Generate hourly, high-resolution surface fields (T, RH, wind speed...)
  • Resulting simulations inform studies of climate change, physical and geochemical metamorphism

The overall goal of this part of the traverse project is to improve our understanding and ability to model interactions among global- and regional-scale atmospheric circulations and local-scale cryospheric (e.g., snow accumulation, erosion, sublimation) processes in East Antarctica. Because many cryospheric processes occur at spatial scales that are 2- to 3-orders-of-magnitude smaller than global climate models, methods are needed to translate global atmospheric features to the local scales relevant to these processes.

Nested-grid models

This part of the project will bridge the gap between global and local climates by utilizing a suite of models that will progressively nest from relatively coarse-scale global-climate models (300- to 100-km grid increment), to regional-climate models (60- to 5-km grid increment), and then to a micro-climate/meteorological model that generates hourly, distributed, high-resolution (1-km to 100-m grid increment), surface atmospheric fields (e.g., air temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation, and incoming radiation). These high-resolution micro-meteorological model outputs will then be used to drive a collection of high-resolution terrestrial models (e.g., SnowModel, SNTHERM) describing key cryospheric processes, including vertical ice sheet temperature profiles and associated fluxes. We will then use the resulting cryospheric-model simulations to understand the impact of global-scale climate changes and variability on local ice sheet characteristics.

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