Short Name:

Enhanced Spatial Resolution Surface Melting over the Antarctic Peninsula (1958 - to date) from a Regional Climate Model Validated through Remote Sensing Observations

This award supports a project to generate first-time validated enhanced spatial resolution (5-10 km) maps of surface melting over the Antarctic Peninsula for the period 1958 - to date from the outputs of a regional climate model and different downscaling techniques. These maps will be assessed and validated through new high spatial resolution (2.25 km) surface melting maps obtained from the QuikSCAT satellite for the period 1999 - 2009. The intellectual merit of this work is that it would be the first time that the outputs of a regional climate model would be used to study surface melting over Antarctica at such high spatial resolution and the first time that such results are validated by means of an observational tool that has such a large spatial coverage and high spatial resolution. The results generated in this study would also provide a first-time opportunity to study the melt distribution over the Peninsula and its correlation with climate drivers, such as the Southern Annual Mode (SAM) and the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) at these unprecedented spatial scales. The enhanced resolution melting maps will also offer a unique opportunity to study melting trends and patterns over specific regions of the Peninsula, such as the Wilkins and the Larsen A and B ice shelves and evaluate whether the extreme melting observed during the recent collapses was unprecedented over the + 50 years. The broader impacts of the project are that it will integrate research and education by fully supporting one female undergrad student, a PhD student and partially supporting a PostDoc. The work will be done at a minority-serving institution and the PhD student who worked on the development of the high-resolution melting data set from QuikSCAT will become the PostDoc who will work on this project. Teaching and learning will be supported by incorporating research results into graduate and undergrad level courses and will be disseminated over the web and through appropriate channels. Results from this project will also benefit the society at large as they will improve our understanding of the links between atmospheric patterns and surface melting and they will contribute to improving estimates of sea level rise from the Antarctica continent.

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