No 2(19) (2019): Ukrainian Antarctic Journal

Climate projections over the Antarctic Peninsula region to the end of the 21st century. Part II: wet/dry indices

A. Chyhareva
Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute, State Service of Emergencies of Ukraine and National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 37 Nauky Ave., Kyiv, 03028, Ukraine, State Institution National Antarctic Scientific Center, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, 16 Taras Shevchenko Blvd., Kyiv, 01601, Ukraine
S. Krakovska
Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute, State Service of Emergencies of Ukraine and National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 37 Nauky Ave., Kyiv, 03028, Ukraine, State Institution National Antarctic Scientific Center, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, 16 Taras Shevchenko Blvd., Kyiv, 01601, Ukraine
D. Pishniak
State Institution National Antarctic Scientific Center, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, 16 Taras Shevchenko Blvd., Kyiv, 01601, Ukraine
Published January 22, 2020
  • Antarctic Peninsula,
  • Akademik Vernadsky station,
  • climate indices,
  • regional climate model,
  • Polar-CORDEX,
  • RCP scenarios
  • ...More


Objective of the study is an assessment of possible climate change in the region of the Antarctic Peninsula from 1986 until the end of the 21st century projected by the RCMs’ ensemble. During the last decades Antarctica has undergone predominantly warming, with the highest rate of surface air temperature increase found over the Antarctic Peninsula, where the Ukrainian Antarctic Akademik Vernadsky station is located. There is a unique ecosystem in the region which is vulnerable and under the growing impact of a changing weather regime due to rapid climate changes with consequent changes in sea ice, land distribution under snow/ice, etc. Thus, an important task for the region is an estimation of climate change trends and definition of possible subregionalization. Data and methods. Data of two regional climate models HIRHAM5 and RACMO21P forced by two global climate models EC-EARTH and HadGEM from the Polar-CORDEX (Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment - Arctic and Antarctic Domains) as part of the international CORDEX initiative were used in the study. Spatial distribution of the model output is 0.44°. Set of scripting codes developed by Climate4R project (An R Framework for Climate Data Access and Postprocessing) was modified in order to extract data for the Antarctic Peninsula region from the Antarctic domain and obtain climatological characteristics for individual RCMs and their ensemble mean. Projected changes in wet/dry climate indices for scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 for two periods 2041—2060 and 2081—2100 were assessed with respect to the historical experiment 1986—2005. Results. An analysis of projected wet/dry climate indices for both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios is presented in Part II of the paper. An analysis of the cold temperature indices (FD, ID) is presented in Part I of the study. In the historical experiment Larsen Ice Shelf and leeward east coast are the regions with the lowest total precipitation in wet days (PRCPTOT, 200—300 mm) and simple daily intensity index (SDII, about 5 mm/day) with under 10 days of consecutive wet days (CWD) and up to 30 days consecutive dry days (CDD). In the cross of the 21st century, duration of dry spell is projected to shorten for the whole peninsula and for Akademik Vernadsky station by about 7—10% under the scenario RCP4.5 and 10—15% under the RCP8.5. Projected SDII changes are up to +20% till the end of the century under the scenario RCP8.5 at north-west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Conclusions. Over the Antarctic Peninsula region both scenarios project an average increase in total PRCPTOT and SDII; overall the maximum length of CWD is extended while the maximum length of the CDD is reduced. In combination with decreasing number of frost (FD) and ice (ID) days, the pattern of changes differs notably across the peninsula. It is shown in the first part of the paper that over the Antarctic Peninsula region, both scenarios project an average decrease in the cold season period. The most pronounced changes of ID and FD climate indices are for the Larsen Ice Sheet area. Analyzing results presented in both parts of the paper we can distinguish a few subregions with different projected changes in climate conditions based on obtained climate indices. Obtained results can be used for studies of the climate changes impact on ecosystems in the region and for the strategic planning of future activities (scientific, touristic, fishery, etc.).


  1. Cannon, F., Carvalho, L.M.V., Jones, C., Norris, J., Bookhagen, B., Kiladis, G. N. 2017. Effects of topographic smoothing on the simulation of winter precipitation in High Mountain Asia, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 122, 1456-1474,
  2. Christensen, O.B., Drews, M., Christensen, J.H., Dethloff, K., Ketelsen, K., Hebestadt, I., Rinke, A. 2007. The HIRHAM Regional Climate Model. Version 5 (beta). Danish Climate Centre, Danish Meteorological Institute. Denmark. Danish Meteorological Institute. Technical Report, 06-17.
  3. Chyhareva, A., Krakovska, S., Pishniak, D. 2019. Climate projections over the Antarctic Peninsula region to the end of the 21st century. Part I: cold temperature indices. Ukrainian Antarctic Journal, 1 (18), 62-74.
  4. Collins, W.J., Bellouin, N., Doutriaux-Boucher, M., Gedney, N., Hinton, T., Jones, C.D., Liddicoat, S., Martin, G., O'Connor, F., Rae, J., Senior, C., Totterdell, I., Woodward, S., Reichler, T., Kim, J. 2008. Evaluation of the HadGEM2 model. Met Office Hadley Centre Technical Note, no. HCTN 74.
  5. Connolley, W.M., O'Farrell, S.P. 1998. Comparison of warming trends over the last century around Antarctica from three coupled models. Annals of Glaciology, 27, 565-570.
  6. Convey, P., Smith, R.I.L. 2005. Responses of terrestrial Antarctic ecosystems to climate change. In: Rozema J., Aerts R., Cornelissen H. (eds) Plants and Climate Change. Tasks for vegetation science, 41. Springer, Dordrecht.
  7. Dethloff, K., Glushak, K., Rinke, V., Handorf, D. 2010. Antarctic 20th Century Accumulation Changes Based on Regional Climate Model Simulations. Advances in Meteorology, ID 327172, 14.
  8. Doran, P.T., Priscu, J.C., Lyons, W. B., Walsh, J. E., Fountain, A.G., McKnight, D.M., Moorhead, D.L.,Virginia, R.A., Wall, D.H., Clow, G.D., Fritsen, C.H., McKay, C.P., Parsons, A.N. 2002. Antarctic climate cooling and terrestrial ecosystem response. Nature, 415, 6871, 517-520.
  9. Feng, X., Liu, C., Xie, F., Lu, J., Chiu, L.S., Tintera, G., Chen, B. 2019. Precipitation characteristic changes due to global warming in a high-resolution (16 km) ECMWF simulation. Q J R MeteorolSoc, 145 (718), 303-317.
  10. Giorgi, F., Gutowski, W.J. 2015. Regional dynamical downscaling and the CORDEX initiative. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 40, 1. 467-490.
  11. Granier, C., Bessagnet, B., Bond, T., D'Angiola, A., van der Gon, H.D., Frost, G., Heil, A., Kaiser, J., Kinne, S., Klimont, Z., Kloster, S., Lamarque, J-F., Liousse, C., Matsui, T., Meleux, F., Mieville, A., Ohara, T., Raut, J.C., Riahi, K., Schultz, M., Smith, S.J., Thomson, A.M., van Aardenne, J., van der Werf, G., van Vuuren, D.P. 2011. Evolution of anthropogenic and biomass burning emissions of air pollutants at global and regional scales during the 1980-2010 period. Climatic Change, 109, 163-190.
  12. IPCC, 2013. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Stocker, T.F., Qin, D., Plattner, G.-K., Tignor, M., Allen, S.K., Boschung, J., Nauels, A., Xia, Y., Bex, V., Midgley, P.M. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1535.
  13. Iturbide, M., Bedia, J., Herrera, S., Baño-Medina, J., Fernández, J., Frías, M.D., Manzanas, R., San-Martín, D., Cimadevilla, E., Cofiño, A.S., Gutiérrez, J.M. 2019. The R-based climate4R open framework for reproducible climate data access and post-processing. Environmental Modelling and Software, 111, 42-54.
  14. Karl, T.R., Nicholls, N., Ghazi, A. 1999. CLIVAR/GCOS/WMO workshop on indices and indicators for climate extremes: Workshop summary. Climatic Change, 42, 3-7.
  15. Koenigk, T., Berg, P., Döscher, R. 2015. Arctic climate change in an ensemble of regional CORDEX simulations. Polar Res., 34, 24603.
  16. Marshall, G.J., Orr, A., van Lipzig, N.P.M., King, J.C. 2006. The impact of a changing Southern Hemisphere annular mode on Antarctic Peninsula summer temperatures. Journal of Climate, 19, 5388-5404.
  17. Peterson, T.C., Folland, C., Gruza, G., Hogg, W., Mokssit, A., Plummer, N., 2001. Report on the Activities of the Working Group on Climate Change Detection and Related Rapporteurs. - Geneve, Switzerland: WMO, Rep. WCDMP-47, WMO-TD 1071, 1998-2001, 143.
  18. Riahi, K., Rao, S., Krey, V., Cho, C., Chirkov, V., Fischer, G., Kindermann, G., Nakicenovic, N., Rafai, P. 2011. RCP 8.5-A scenario of comparatively high greenhouse gas emissions. Climatic Change, 109, 33-57.
  19. Rodrigo, S. J., Buchlin, J. M., van Beeck, J., Lenaerts J. T. M., van den Broeke M.R. 2013. Evaluation of the antarctic surface wind climate from ERA reanalyses and RACMO2/ANT simulations based on automatic weather stations. Climate Dynamics, 40, 353-376.
  20. Sancho, L.G., Green, T.A., Pintado, A. 2007. Slowest to fastest: extreme range in lichen growth rates supports their use as an indicator of climate change in Antarctica. Flora, 202, 667-673.
  21. Sancho, L.G., Pintado, A., Navarro, F., Ramos, M., De Pablo, M.A., Blanquer, J.M., Raggio, J., Valladares, F., Green, T.G.A. 2017. Recent Warming and Cooling in the Antarctic Peninsula Region has Rapid and Large Effects on Lichen Vegetation. Sci Rep, 7, 5689
  22. Steig, E.J., Schneider, D.P., Rutherford, S.D., Mann, M.E., Comiso, J.C., Shindell, D.T. 2009. Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year. Nature, 457, 7228, 459-462.
  23. Taylor, K.E., Stouffer, R.J., Meehl, G.A. 2011. An overview of CMIP5 and the experiment design. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 93, 485-498.
  24. Thomson, A., Calvin, K., Smith, S., Kyle, P., Volke, A., Patel, P., Delgado-Arias, S., Bond-Lamberty, B., Wise, M., Clarke, L., Edmonds, J. 2011. RCP4.5: a pathway for stabilization of radiative forcing by 2100. Climatic Change, 109, 77-94.
  25. Turner, J.,Colwell, S.R., Marshall, G.J., Lachlan-Cope, T.A., Carleton, A.M., Jones, P.D., Lagun, V., Reid, P.A., Iagovkina, S. 2005. Antarctic climate change during the last 50 years. Int. J. Climatol., 25, 279-294.
  26. van Meijgaard, E., van Ulft, L.H., van de Berg, W.J., Bosveld, F.C., van den Hurk, B.J.J.M., Lenderink, G., Siebesma, A.P. 2008. The KNMI regional atmospheric climate model RACMO version 2.1. Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) technical report, 302.
  27. van Wessem, J.M., Ligtenberg, S.R.M., Reijmer, C.H., van de Berg, W.J., van den Broeke, M.R., Barrand, N.E., Thomas, E.R., Turner, J., Wuite, J., Scambos, T.A., van Meijgaard, E. 2016. The modelled surface mass balance of the Antarctic Peninsula at 5.5 km horizontal resolution. The Cryosphere, 10, 271-285.
  28. Wille, J.D., Favier, V., Dufour, A., Gorodetskaya, I.V., Turner, J., Agosta, C., Codron, F. 2019. West Antarctic surface melt triggered by atmospheric rivers. Nature Geoscience, 12 (11), 911-916.