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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-33
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-33
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  04 May 2020

04 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

Subsurface Initiation of Deep Convection near Maud Rise

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 2016 and 2017, an open-ocean polynya appeared over Maud Rise. The formation of these polynyas has been attributed to the occurrence of intense winter storms. However, the evolution and lifetime of the two polynyas was quite different. Here, we use model output of a century long high-resolution climate model simulation to explain the differences between the 2016 and 2017 Maud Rise polynyas. Analysis of the results, using convective available potential energy to measure subsurface convection, leads us to the interpretation that the first polynya event is (partly) initiated by subsurface static instabilities, leading to subsurface convection. Subsurface convection associated with the formation of the 2016 polynya preconditioned the Maud Rise region, resulting in a weakly stable surface layer and eventually leading to the 2017 polynya event. Based on this, we argue that, apart from atmospheric variability, subsurface convection is important to initiate a Maud Rise polynya.

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
In 2016 and 2017, an open-water area emerged within the Antarctic sea-ice pack, the so-called Maud Rise polynya. The opening of the sea ice has been linked to intense winter storms. In this study, we investigate another important contributor to polynya formation by analysing subsurface static instabilities. These static instabilities initiate subsurface convection near Maud Rise. We conclude that apart from winter storms, subsurface convection plays an important role in polynya formation.
In 2016 and 2017, an open-water area emerged within the Antarctic sea-ice pack, the so-called...
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