EGU21-13058, updated on 13 Jan 2022
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Cloud and precipitation microphysics evaluated with ERA-5 and Polar WRF over the northern Antarctic Peninsula

Anastasiia Chyhareva1,2, Svitlana Krakovska1,2, Irina Gorodetskaya3, Denis Pishniak2, Jonathan Wille4, and Penny Rowe5
Anastasiia Chyhareva et al.
  • 1Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute, Department of applied meteorology and climatology, Kyiv, Ukraine (
  • 2National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine
  • 3Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, Department of Physics, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
  • 4University Grenoble-Alpes, France
  • 5NorthWest Research Associates, Redmond, WA, USA

Synoptic-scale atmospheric circulation that transports moisture from lower latitudes highly influences the Antarctic coastal climate, warming and moistening the lower troposphere and causing both precipitation and temperature increases. During recent decades, it has been shown that the highest warming rate over Antarctica is observed over the Antarctic Peninsula region. Heat and moisture transport from lower latitudes, particularly associated with atmospheric rivers (ARs), could play a crucial role in this warming. Among the most complex and understudied processes relate to microphysical properties of clouds and precipitation and understanding phase transitions during intense precipitation events associated with ARs and their representation in polar weather and climate models.

The goal of this research is  to investigate the temporal and spatial evolution of precipitation, including its intensity and phase transition and associated cloud properties during AR events over the Antarctic Peninsula in austral summer. We focus on two sites representing different regional and micro-climates around the Antarctic Peninsula - Escudero station, situated on King George Island at the northern tip of the peninsula, and Vernadsky station – located on Galindez Island at the western (upwind) side closer to the central part of the peninsula. Although both stations have typical maritime climate, the Vernadsky site is more affected by orographic enhancement of precipitation and cold air advection from the continent.

We use ground-based observations of meteorology, conducted during The Year of Polar Prediction Special Observing Period (YOPP-SOP) in summer 2018/2019 over the Antarctic Peninsula region and compare against ERA-5 and AMPS Polar WRF. After evaluating ERA-5 reanalysis , it is used for large-scale analysis of clouds and precipitation type. The timings of precipitation phase transitions in ERA-5 and Polar WRF are determined for the grid cells where the two stations are located. Sensitivity to microphysics parameterization in Polar WRF is tested with several double moment cloud microphysics parameterization schemes.

We analyze two cases with observed precipitation phase transitions, during the first week of December 2018. Higher precipitation amounts were observed over Vernadsky station during the first event and over Escudero during the second event. Total precipitation during the whole week is higher for Vernadsky station compared to Escudero station, related to the AR landfall position and strength, as well as the orographic enhancement at the upwind side of the Antarctic Peninsula ridge. This is confirmed by assessment of ERA-5 data. Comparison with the YOPP-SOP observations at Escudero shows that ERA-5 represents major precipitation type accurately and thus can be used for further study of precipitation microphysics. For Vernadsky station, ERA-5 showed a few cases of phase transition from snow to wet snow, associated with ARs events according to ERA-5 data; unfortunatly observations for comparison were lacking. Compared to ERA-5, Polar WRF shows a finer structure of precipitation fields disturbed by the mountains. We intend to test different parameterizations of cloud microphysics in Polar WRF with fine resolution against the complex of measurements at Vernadsky station in order to find the optimal configuration in the region to use during the upcoming winter YOPP in the Southern Hemisphere.

How to cite: Chyhareva, A., Krakovska, S., Gorodetskaya, I., Pishniak, D., Wille, J., and Rowe, P.: Cloud and precipitation microphysics evaluated with ERA-5 and Polar WRF over the northern Antarctic Peninsula, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13058,, 2021.


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