Numerical models of changing climate are only as good as the data which is used to test and verify them. In support of its climate modelling effort, ice2sea is collecting specific datasets to allow improved testing of those models, particularly where data are scarce. One such dataset has been collected in a remote part of Antarctica and allows one of the most difficult climate parameters to be tested. Since 2004, stakes have been partially buried in the ice at Adelie Land, extending southwards towards the Antarctic Plateau. They are used to measure the annual amount of snowfall, which is found to vary considerably between years as well as with distance from the coast.
Cecile Agosta and colleagues compare this dataset to previous records from 1971-2001 and find that there is no long-term trend in accumulation in this area – patterns have remained quite similar. The outputs from various global and regional climate models as well as from analysis-based forecasts also perform well, reproducing the temporal patterns in accumulation even if they do not always predict the magnitude perfectly. Such research is vital in ensuring the models used by ice2sea scientists produce accurate results which can be relied upon by policymakers.
Ice2sea Work Package: WP2
Publication: Agosta, C., V. Favier, C. Genthon , H. Gallée , G. Krinner, J. T. M. Lenaerts, and M. R. van de Broeke (2011), A 40-year accumulation dataset for Adelie Land, Antarctica and its application for model validation, Climate Dynamics, 1-12.