Top ten papers to read about Larsen C

Writing a literature review can be pretty tiring, but it does have its perks. One of them being that I can now write a list of the ten best papers that are important for Larsen C. You’re all welcome.

Image credit: Fabio Hofnik via Flickr

In no particular order:

  1. Kuipers Munneke et al. (2012) – It’s not a climatology, but it’s probably the closest we’re going to get over Larsen C without waiting a few more decades for more data. This paper uses a case study approach to examine the effect of foehn winds on the surface energy budget
  2. Turner et al. (2016) – A reminder that we can get carried away with thinking that what we see in data is significant because it supports our hypotheses, when it’s actually just natural variability. This paper shows a cooling trend over the Peninsula in the last decade, in contrast to previous warming – BUT: it’s all consistent with natural variability, so there’s not much we can draw from any of it. This post provides an interesting perspective on the issue. It’s a controversial topic but one that was pretty well reported.
  3. King et al. (2015) – The only validation exercise of commonly used climate models over Larsen C that I know of. It compared three models that are often used (Polar-WRF, RACMO2 and the UM), examining their biases and the reasons for this. Turns out that cloud microphysics are really quite important for determining the surface energy fluxes.
  4. Orr et al. (2008) – On the foehn warming hypothesis. Developed earlier work on the ‘low-level explanation’ for warming over the Peninsula, i.e. the foehn warming effect. It demonstrates the link between a changing SAM and foehn winds. Plus, it has one of the best explanations of dynamical foehn theory of all the 100+ papers I’ve read in the last few months. And I’m not just saying that because it’s written by my supervisor, promise.
  5. Trusel et al. (2015) – I loved this one, even though it’s actually got a pretty fatal flaw, meaning it’s not that instructive over Larsen C: see this post about its limitations and more about why it’s great.
  6. Luckman et al. (2014) – connecting the foehn warming hypothesis to glaciological processes, like meltwater ponding and hydrofracturing (for more on those topics, you can listen to episode 2 of Larscience. The team at Swansea use a lot of satellite data to monitor Larsen C as part of the MIDAS project.
  7. Scambos et al. (2003) – explains the process of ice shelf collapse as a result of climatic change, looking at Larsen A and B. Much of the theory about firn densification, hydrofracturing and meltwater ponding is nicely explained in here.
  8. King & Turner (1997) – an oldie but a goodie. I treated this book as my bible during my masters thesis write-up, because it’s pretty much the only comprehensive evaluation of weather and climate over Antarctica. It’s still clear, concise and very useful for the basics, even if Antarctic science has since progressed.
  9. Baran et al. (2014) – looks at model parameterisations of clouds and microphysics, and their effect on the UM. It is a technical, but thorough look at the role clouds play in altering the model’s ability to represent the surface energy balance, with direct relevance to my work with melt on Larsen C.
  10. Durran (1990) – Dale Durran’s work on orographic flows and mountain waves is comprehensive, and it’s written in a way that makes me feel like I understand it. It’s a pretty dense topic though, and it took me a few reads to get the most out of it.



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