Thermal, pressure and wind fields at ground level in the area of the Italian base at Terra Nova Bay, Victoria Land, Antarctica, as observed by a network of automatic weather stations
Abstract. Ground temperature, pressure and wind speed monthly averages in the area of the Italian Station at Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica, were analyzed for the period 1987–1991 by means of a network of nine AWS (automatic weather stations). Spatial configurations of temperature show a well-defined, relatively warm island in the area of Terra Nova Bay, between Drygalsky and Campbell ice tongues, throughout the year. A second warm island is present to the north along the coast, between Aviator and Mariner ice tongues, for most of the year. From February to March a rapid drop in temperature is observed at all stations. A strong thermal gradient develops during February, March, April and October, November, December, between the coastal region and inner highlands. The baric configuration follows the elevation of the area. Annual average pressure and temperature as functions of stations altitude show linear trends. Severe katabatic wind episodes are recorded at all stations, with wind speed exceeding 25 m s–1 and direction following the orographic features of the inner areas. Co-occurrences of these episodes were observed for stations located along stream lines of cold air drainage. The autocorrelation function of maximum wind speed time series shows wind persistence of 2–3 days and wind periodicity of about one week.