Weather & weather systems at Schirmacher Oasis (Maitri) during recent two decades - A review
Keywords:Katabatic winds, Blizzards, Schirmacher Oasis, East Antarctica, Maitri, Drifting Snow, Advection Fog, Circumpolar trough
Indian Antarctic station Maitri experiences varying external influences from interior of east Antarctica as well as moving depressions and cyclones along the coast. The relative position of circumpolar trough and strengthening of high pressure centre near pole influences variation of atmospheric pressure at Maitri. The diurnal, daily and seasonal variation of temperature mainly depend upon moving pressure systems, katabatic winds, change of solar insulation with change of seasons, reflectivity from clouds and snow surface. The katabatic winds prevail over Maitri which is highly directional from South- East sector due to increase of slope towards south. The blizzards are main weather at Maitri, fog and white out are occasional phenomena. The precipitation is mostly in form of snowfall but rain is very rare at Maitri. Heavy or moderate snowfall indicative of active front leading edge of warm air masses being transported southwards. Strong temperature variant near Schirmacher oasis give precipitation in form of snow. Fog occurred due to slow movement of relatively warm air from lower latitude over the colder surface. Winter season witnessed more snowfall accumulation at Maitri than other season. During summer rise of temperature accompanied with absorption of latent heat by ice pellets in low level of atmosphere results precipitation in form of water droplets. Highest number of blizzards occurs during winter season whereas lowest number of blizzards occurs during summer season. Normally due to cyclonic activities, warm air masses transported towards the Schirmacher oasis which causes rise of temperature at Maitri. Longer duration of the blizzards over the station depends upon strength of slow moving blocking anticyclone situated east of Maitri at lower latitude. Tremendous fluctuation of atmospheric electric field observed before onset is a pre-indication of commencement of blizzards.
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