04 Oct 2023
 | 04 Oct 2023

Understanding the drivers of near-surface winds in Adelie land, East Antarctica

Cécile Davrinche, Anaïs Orsi, Cécile Agosta, Charles Amory, and Christoph Kittel

Abstract. Near-surface winds play a crucial role in the climate of Antarctica, but accurately quantifying and understanding their drivers is complex. They result from the contribution of two distinct families of drivers: large-scale pressure gradient, and surface-induced pressure gradients known as katabatic and thermal wind. The extrapolation of vertical potential temperature above the boundary layer down to the surface enables us to separate and quantify the contribution of these different pressure gradients in the momentum budget equations. Using this method applied to outputs of the regional atmospheric model MAR at a 3-hourly resolution, we find that the seasonal and spatial variability of near-surface winds in Adélie Land is dominated by surface processes. On the other hand, high temporal variability (3-hourly) is mainly controlled by large-scale variability everywhere in Antarctica, except in the coastal area. In these coastal regions, although the katabatic acceleration surpasses all other accelerations in magnitude, none of the katabatic nor large-scale accelerations can be identified as primary drivers of near-surface winds variability. Strong wind speed events in coastal Antarctica are driven by both katabatic and large-scale accelerations, as well as the angle between them.

Cécile Davrinche et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2045', Anonymous Referee #1, 31 Oct 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2045', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Nov 2023

Cécile Davrinche et al.

Data sets

Understanding the drivers of winter surface winds intensity in Adelie land Cécile Davrinche, Cécile Agosta, Anaïs Orsi, Christoph Kittel, and Charles Amory

Cécile Davrinche et al.


Total article views: 271 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
190 68 13 271 22 7 6
  • HTML: 190
  • PDF: 68
  • XML: 13
  • Total: 271
  • Supplement: 22
  • BibTeX: 7
  • EndNote: 6
Views and downloads (calculated since 04 Oct 2023)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 04 Oct 2023)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 274 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 274 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 06 Dec 2023
Short summary
Coastal surface winds in Antarctica are amongst the strongest winds on earth. They are either driven by the cooling of the surface air mass by the ice-sheet (katabatic), or they originate from large-scale pressure systems. Here we compute the relative contribution of these drivers. We find that seasonal variations in the wind speed come from the katabatic acceleration, but, at a 3-hourly timescale, none of the large-scale nor katabatic accelerations can be considered as the main driver.