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https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-25
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-25
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 16 Apr 2020

Submitted as: research article | 16 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

Multidecadal Preconditioning of the Maud Rise Polynya Region

René M. van Westen1 and Henk A. Dijkstra1,2 René M. van Westen and Henk A. Dijkstra
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Department of Physics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2Center for Complex Systems Studies, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Abstract. In this paper, we consider Maud Rise polynya formation in a long (250 years) high-resolution (ocean 0.1°, atmosphere 0.5° horizontal model resolution) of the Community Earth System Model. We find a dominant multidecadal time scale in the occurrence of these Maud Rise polynyas. Analysis of the results leads us to the interpretation that a preferred time scale can be induced by the variability of the Weddell Gyre, previously identified as the Southern Ocean Mode. The large-scale pattern of heat content variability associated with the Southern Ocean Mode modifies the stratification in the Maud Rise region and leads to a preferred time scale in convection through preconditioning of the subsurface density, and consequently to polynya formation.

René M. van Westen and Henk A. Dijkstra

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René M. van Westen and Henk A. Dijkstra

René M. van Westen and Henk A. Dijkstra

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Short summary
During the mid-1970 and quite recently in 2017, a large open-water area appeared in the Antarctic sea ice pack, the so-called Maud Rise polynya. From several model studies, the re-occurrence time of this polynya seems arbitrary. In this study, we address the re-occurrence time of the polynya using a high-resolution climate model. We find a preferred multidecadal return time in polynya formation. The return time of the polynya is associated with a large-scale ocean mode in the Southern Ocean.
During the mid-1970 and quite recently in 2017, a large open-water area appeared in the...
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