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Conveners: Irina Gorodetskaya, Marty Ralph and Roberto Rondanelli

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are responsible for most of the poleward moisture transport, some of them reaching far into the Polar Regions. Their impact in the Polar regions is complex with competing effects on the ice sheet mass balance, being capable to significantly contribute to both the reduction or increase of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet snow accumulation. ARs can bring extreme snowfall and also induce major melt events over both ice sheets, and also are capable to destabilize Antarctic ice shelves. AR interaction with sea ice is also of high importance and has been studied only for specific events. Impact of ARs in the polar regions goes beyond the atmosphere as they bring also high ocean swells induced by the low-level wind jets and can influence sea ice dynamics and ice shelf movement and calving. One of the striking examples of the complex and strong impacts of ARs on the cryosphere is the recent AR and heat wave event in East Antarctica in mid-March 2022 causing anomalously high snow accumulation together with outstanding temperature records in the East Antarctic interior, and rainfall and surface melt along the coast. During the same time period, another outstanding AR caused temperature records, rainfall and sea ice reduction in the Arctic. Future climate simulations project an increase in both the frequency and magnitude of the ARs showing that the regions with presently zero occurrence of the ARs deep into the Polar regions will be under their influence in the warmer future climate.

Research about the impact of the ARs in the Polar regions weather and climate has been growing in the recent years. In this Special Session dedicated to the ARs and the Polar Meteorology and Climate we would like to bring together the AR and the Polar meteorology and climate communities for an exchange of recent research and ideas. The goal is to move forward our understanding of the poleward heat and moisture transport, polar amplification, and the role of the ARs, their interaction with the weather, climate and surface mass and energy balance in the Polar Regions.

The session is supported by the SCAR’s Scientific Research Program AntClimNow – Near-term variability and prediction of the Antarctic climate system.

For further information, please contact René Garreaud or Anna Wilson.