Articles | Volume 17, issue 2
Research article
 | Highlight paper
21 Feb 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 21 Feb 2023

Climatology and surface impacts of atmospheric rivers on West Antarctica

Michelle L. Maclennan, Jan T. M. Lenaerts, Christine A. Shields, Andrew O. Hoffman, Nander Wever, Megan Thompson-Munson, Andrew C. Winters, Erin C. Pettit, Theodore A. Scambos, and Jonathan D. Wille


Interactive discussion

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2022-101', Sanne Veldhuijsen, 19 Jul 2022
    • RC2: 'Reply on RC1', Sanne Veldhuijsen, 19 Jul 2022
      • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Michelle Maclennan, 02 Sep 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Michelle Maclennan, 02 Sep 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on tc-2022-101', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Aug 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Michelle Maclennan, 02 Sep 2022
  • RC4: 'Comment on tc-2022-101', Anonymous Referee #3, 13 Aug 2022
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC4', Michelle Maclennan, 02 Sep 2022

Peer review completion

AR: Author's response | RR: Referee report | ED: Editor decision
ED: Publish subject to minor revisions (review by editor) (12 Nov 2022) by Ruth Mottram
AR by Michelle Maclennan on behalf of the Authors (21 Nov 2022)  Author's response    Author's tracked changes    Manuscript
ED: Publish as is (07 Dec 2022) by Ruth Mottram
Atmospheric rivers are short-lived events that can have important impacts on the ice sheets but are not well resolved in climate models. They give rise to ice shelf loss and widespread melt in some areas but ice gain in others. The region of interest of this paper, Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, is one of the most important to understand in detail given potential sea level rise impacts and this study is therefore of interest to stakeholders and the general public as well as scientists concerned with atmosphere ice sheet interactions. The paper also sheds light on synoptic situations that lead to ARs and it is therefore of broad general scientific interest.
Short summary
Atmospheric rivers are air masses that transport large amounts of moisture and heat towards the poles. Here, we use a combination of weather observations and models to quantify the amount of snowfall caused by atmospheric rivers in West Antarctica which is about 10 % of the total snowfall each year. We then examine a unique event that occurred in early February 2020, when three atmospheric rivers made landfall over West Antarctica in rapid succession, leading to heavy snowfall and surface melt.