Snow accumulation and surface topography in the katabatic zone of eastern Wilkes Land, Antarctica

Ian D. Goodwin*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Snow accumulation and surface microrelief distributions, together with the surface katabatic wind pattern and elevation profiles, are presented for the eastern Wilkes Land katabatic wind zone. The broad-scale net accumulation distribution displays a strong negative correlation with elevation but on the mesoscale there are significant variations with respect to the elevation profile. The accumulation distribution was found to be dependent on slope aspect. Higher accumulation rates were observed on the north-east (windward) slope than those on the north-west (leeward) slope for the elevation range of 1870 m-2230 m. These higher accumulation rates are associated with the occurrence of longitudinal dunes deposited by precipitation, during synoptic events. The dependence of the accumulation distribution on aspect implies that synoptic and orographic processes are the major control on the depositional regime, and that maritime synoptic systems regularly penetrate eastern Wilkes Land to at least 2300 m elevation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-242
Number of pages8
JournalAntarctic Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1990



  • Depositional regime
  • Wilkes Land

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