A pilot study on the interactions between katabatic winds and polynyas at the Adélie Coast, eastern Antarctica

Ute Adolphs, Gerd Wendler
1995 Antarctic Science  
Infrared satellite images of the coastal area off Adelie Land were examined together with two wind data sets, one from the manned French station, Dumont d'Urville, the other one from an Automatic Weather Station (AWS) during the 1986 austral winter. A correlation between the development of open water areas (polynyas) and the appearance of extremely strong offshore winds can be drawn. The wind direction tended to be more perpendicular to the coastline during these extreme 'events', suggesting a
more » ... atabatic origin of the increase in wind strength. In the study area the influence of the katabatic wind on the sea ice extends 20-100 km offshore. Sea ice motion further off the coast seems to be more dominated by synopticscale weather systems. Broader scale atmospheric influences may create large polynya structures which influence the development of coastal winds, as the temperature contrast between open water and the cold continent generates its own circulation. Strong wind events can have a weakening effect on the coastal sea ice which can lead to a much more sensitive reaction of the sea ice in response to following anomalous wind events.
doi:10.1017/s0954102095000423 fatcat:lfqocyomv5awri6akrrek26qsq