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Geophysical Monograph Series




Atmospheric advection and the Antarctic mass and heat budget

M. J. Rubin

Assuming an annual ice-mass balance, calculations are made of the various factors in the Antarctic ice budget with the view to assigning a value to the latent heat transport across the Antarctic boundary. The required poleward water vapor transport value ranges from 1.461 to 2.241×1018 gm yr−1, which corresponds to a latent heat transport of from 0.994 to 1.524×1021 cal yr−1 and an average annual precipitation of from 10.8 to 16.6 cm yr1. On the basis of all available Antarctic snow accumulation data, a first approximation to the distribution of isopleths of annual net accumulation has been made; the average value is 14.5 cm yr−1. The mass loss due to drifting snow, surface melting and evaporation has to be added to the net accumulation value to give the total precipitation, which is either 14.6 or 19.2 cm yr−1, depending upon whether maximum or minimum estimates are used.
Using daily radiosonde ascents from ten stations on the Antarctic coast, calculations have been made of the net poleward transport of sensible heat in the atmosphere during 1958. The value is 11.505×1021 cal yr−1 which is the equivalent of 13.233×1021 cal yr−1 and which compares with a value of 10.414×1021 cal yr−1 for 70°N.
Under the assumption of a balanced annual heat budget for Antarctica, the influx of sensible and latent heat, less the heat used in melting and evaporation, equals the net radiative heat loss through the top of the atmosphere over Antarctica. This value is between 12.499 and 13.213×1021 cal yr−1, which is between 90 and 95 pct of another previously reported equivalent estimate.

Citation: Rubin, M. J. (1962), Atmospheric advection and the Antarctic mass and heat budget, in Antarctic Research: The Matthew Fontaine Maury Memorial Symposium, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 7, edited by H. Wexler, M. J. Rubin, and J. E. Caskey Jr., pp. 149–159, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/GM007p0149.

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