Articles | Volume 11, issue 4
Research article
14 Jul 2017
Research article |  | 14 Jul 2017

The importance of accurate glacier albedo for estimates of surface mass balance on Vatnajökull: evaluating the surface energy budget in a regional climate model with automatic weather station observations

Louise Steffensen Schmidt, Guðfinna Aðalgeirsdóttir, Sverrir Guðmundsson, Peter L. Langen, Finnur Pálsson, Ruth Mottram, Simon Gascoin, and Helgi Björnsson

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Cited articles

Agosta, C., Fettweis, X., and Datta, R.: Evaluation of the CMIP5 models in the aim of regional modelling of the Antarctic surface mass balance, The Cryosphere, 9, 2311–2321,, 2015.
Ágústsson, H., Hannesdóttir, H., Thorsteinsson, T., Pálsson, F., and Oddsson, B.: Mass balance of Mýrdalsjökull ice cap accumulation area and comparison of observed winter balance with simulated precipitation, JÖKULL, 63, 91–104, 2013.
Andreas, E. L.: A theory for the scalar roughness and the scalar transfer coefficients over snow and sea ice, Bound.-Lay. Meteorol., 38, 159–184,, 1987.
Björnsson, H.: Bægisárjökull, North Iceland. result of glaciological investigations 1967-1968. Part II. The energy balance, Jökull, 22, 44–61, 1972.
Björnsson, H. and Pálsson, F.: Icelandic glaciers, Jökull, 58, 365–386, 2008.
Short summary
The regional climate model HIRHAM5 is evaluated over Vatnajökull, Iceland, using automatic weather stations and mass balance observations from 1995 to 2014. From this we asses whether the model can be used to reconstruct the mass balance of the glacier. We find that the simulated energy balance is underestimated overall, but it has been improved by using a new albedo scheme. The specific mass balance is reconstructed back to 1980, thus expanding on the observational records of the mass balance.