Articles | Volume 17, issue 10
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-17-4399-2023
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-17-4399-2023
Research article
 | 
19 Oct 2023
Research article |  | 19 Oct 2023

Characteristics and rarity of the strong 1940s westerly wind event over the Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica

Gemma K. O'Connor, Paul R. Holland, Eric J. Steig, Pierre Dutrieux, and Gregory J. Hakim

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Cited articles

Alley, K. E., Wild, C. T., Luckman, A., Scambos, T. A., Truffer, M., Pettit, E. C., Muto, A., Wallin, B., Klinger, M., Sutterley, T., Child, S. F., Hulen, C., Lenaerts, J. T. M., Maclennan, M., Keenan, E., and Dunmire, D.: Two decades of dynamic change and progressive destabilization on the Thwaites Eastern Ice Shelf, The Cryosphere, 15, 5187–5203, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-15-5187-2021, 2021. 
Arblaster, J. M. and Meehl, G. A.: Contributions of external forcings to Southern Annular Mode trends, J. Climate, 19, 2896–2905, https://doi.org/10.1175/Jcli3774.1, 2006. 
Assmann, K. M., Jenkins, A., Shoosmith, D. R., Walker, D. P., Jacobs, S. S., and Nicholls, K. W.: Variability of Circumpolar Deep Water transport onto the Amundsen Sea Continental shelf through a shelf break trough, J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 118, 6603–6620, https://doi.org/10.1002/2013JC008871, 2013. 
Bracegirdle, T. J., Turner, J., Hosking, J. S., and Phillips, T.: Sources of uncertainty in projections of 21st century westerly wind changes over the Amundsen Sea, West Antarctica, in CMIP5 climate models, Clim. Dynam., 43, 2093–2104, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-013-2032-1, 2014. 
Bracegirdle, T. J., Krinner, G., Tonelli, M., Haumann, F. A., Naughten, K. A., Rackow, T., Roach, L. A., and Wainer, I.: Twenty first century changes in Antarctic and Southern Ocean surface climate in CMIP6, Atmos. Sci. Lett., 21, e984, https://doi.org/10.1002/asl.984, 2020. 
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Short summary
Glaciers in West Antarctica are rapidly melting, but the causes are unknown due to limited observations. A leading hypothesis is that an unusually large wind event in the 1940s initiated the ocean-driven melting. Using proxy reconstructions (e.g., using ice cores) and climate model simulations, we find that wind events similar to the 1940s event are relatively common on millennial timescales, implying that ocean variability or climate trends are also necessary to explain the start of ice loss.