Results of measurements performed on and around an Antarctic blue-ice field are presented in this paper. The measurements were carried out in a valley of Heimefrontfjella, Dronning Maud Land, during a 2 month field season in the austral summer of 1992–93. A simple model is used to evaluate the surface-energy balance from measured meteorological quantities. The large differences in the surface-energy-balance values between snow and blue ice are mainly caused by differences inalbedo, surface roughness, thermal conductivity and short-wave radiation extinction coefficient. Taking into account uncertainties in the calculations, it appears that the calculated sublimation rates over ice and snow do not differ much.
Furthermore, typical circulation patterns are described. The large continental-scale katabatic flow is forced by radiative cooling of the surface (night-time) and the mesoscale horizontal temperature gradient (daytime). The latter penetrates to the surface due to enhanced mixing in an unstable stratified boundary layer. At night, shallow katabatic layers form along local fall lines. On some occasions the large-scale katabatic winds decrease through the presence of a high-pressure system in the weddell Sea and a local circulation can develop inside the valley.