Summertime cloud phase strongly influences surface melting on the Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctica

Gilbert, Ella, Orr, Andrew, King, John, Renfrew, Ian ORCID:, Lachlan Cope, Tom, Field, Paul and Boutle, Ian (2020) Summertime cloud phase strongly influences surface melting on the Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctica. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 146 (729). pp. 1575-1589. ISSN 0035-9009

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Surface melting on Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves can influence ice shelf mass balance, and consequently sea level rise. We show that summertime cloud phase on the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula strongly influences the amount of radiation received at the surface and can determine whether or not melting occurs. While previous work has separately evaluated cloud phase and the surface energy balance (SEB) during summertime over Larsen C, no previous studies have examined this relationship quantitatively. Furthermore, regional climate models frequently produce surface radiation biases related to cloud ice and liquid water content. This study uses a high-resolution regional configuration of the UK Met Office Unified Model (MetUM) to assess the influence of cloud ice and liquid properties on the SEB, and consequently melting, over the Larsen C ice shelf. Results from a case-study show that simulations producing a vertical cloud phase structure more comparable to aircraft observations exhibit smaller surface radiative biases. A configuration of the MetUM adapted to improve the simulation of cloud phase reproduces the observed surface melt most closely. During a five-week simulation of summertime conditions, model melt biases are reduced to <2 W·m −2: a four-fold improvement on a previous study that used default MetUM settings. This demonstrates the importance of cloud phase in determining summertime melt rates on Larsen C.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: antarctic peninsula,climate model,energy balance,larsen c ice shelf,microphysics,mixed-phase,peninsula,polar weather research,precipitation,radiation,southern-ocean,supercooled liquid water,cloud phase,regional climate modelling,surface energy balance,surface melt,atmospheric science,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1900/1902
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 03:53
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 10:48
DOI: 10.1002/qj.3753


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