Articles | Volume 12, issue 10
Review article 04 Oct 2018
Review article | 04 Oct 2018
An assessment of sub-snow GPS for quantification of snow water equivalent
Ladina Steiner et al.
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Louis Quéno, Charles Fierz, Alec van Herwijnen, Dylan Longridge, and Nander Wever
The Cryosphere, 14, 3449–3464,Short summary
Deep ice layers may form in the snowpack due to preferential water flow with impacts on the snowpack mechanical, hydrological and thermodynamical properties. We studied their formation and evolution at a high-altitude alpine site, combining a comprehensive observation dataset at a daily frequency (with traditional snowpack observations, penetration resistance and radar measurements) and detailed snowpack modeling, including a new parameterization of ice formation in the 1-D SNOWPACK model.
Neige Calonne, Bettina Richter, Henning Löwe, Cecilia Cetti, Judith ter Schure, Alec Van Herwijnen, Charles Fierz, Matthias Jaggi, and Martin Schneebeli
The Cryosphere, 14, 1829–1848,Short summary
During winter 2015–2016, the standard program to monitor the structure and stability of the snowpack at Weissflujoch, Swiss Alps, was complemented by additional measurements to compare between various traditional and newly developed techniques. Snow micro-penetrometer measurements allowed monitoring of the evolution of the snowpack's internal structure at a daily resolution throughout the winter. We show the potential of such high-resolution data for detailed evaluations of snowpack models.
Samuel Weber, Jan Beutel, Reto Da Forno, Alain Geiger, Stephan Gruber, Tonio Gsell, Andreas Hasler, Matthias Keller, Roman Lim, Philippe Limpach, Matthias Meyer, Igor Talzi, Lothar Thiele, Christian Tschudin, Andreas Vieli, Daniel Vonder Mühll, and Mustafa Yücel
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 11, 1203–1237,Short summary
In this paper, we describe a unique 10-year or more data record obtained from in situ measurements in steep bedrock permafrost in an Alpine environment on the Matterhorn Hörnligrat, Zermatt, Switzerland, at 3500 m a.s.l. By documenting and sharing these data in this form, we contribute to facilitating future research based on them, e.g., in the area of analysis methodology, comparative studies, assessment of change in the environment, natural hazard warning and the development of process models.
Cécile B. Ménard, Richard Essery, Alan Barr, Paul Bartlett, Jeff Derry, Marie Dumont, Charles Fierz, Hyungjun Kim, Anna Kontu, Yves Lejeune, Danny Marks, Masashi Niwano, Mark Raleigh, Libo Wang, and Nander Wever
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 11, 865–880,Short summary
This paper describes long-term meteorological and evaluation datasets from 10 reference sites for use in snow modelling. We demonstrate how data sharing is crucial to the identification of errors and how the publication of these datasets contributes to good practice, consistency, and reproducibility in geosciences. The ease of use, availability, and quality of the datasets will help model developers quantify and reduce model uncertainties and errors.
Ian Allison, Charles Fierz, Regine Hock, Andrew Mackintosh, Georg Kaser, and Samuel U. Nussbaumer
Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 10, 97–107,Short summary
The International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) became the eighth and most recent association of IUGG in July 2007. IACS was launched in recognition of the importance of the cryosphere, particularly at a time of significant global change. The forbears of IACS, however, start with the 1894 Commission Internationale des Glaciers (CIG). This paper traces the transition from CIG to IACS; scientific objectives that drove activities and changes, and key events and individuals involved.
Gerhard Krinner, Chris Derksen, Richard Essery, Mark Flanner, Stefan Hagemann, Martyn Clark, Alex Hall, Helmut Rott, Claire Brutel-Vuilmet, Hyungjun Kim, Cécile B. Ménard, Lawrence Mudryk, Chad Thackeray, Libo Wang, Gabriele Arduini, Gianpaolo Balsamo, Paul Bartlett, Julia Boike, Aaron Boone, Frédérique Chéruy, Jeanne Colin, Matthias Cuntz, Yongjiu Dai, Bertrand Decharme, Jeff Derry, Agnès Ducharne, Emanuel Dutra, Xing Fang, Charles Fierz, Josephine Ghattas, Yeugeniy Gusev, Vanessa Haverd, Anna Kontu, Matthieu Lafaysse, Rachel Law, Dave Lawrence, Weiping Li, Thomas Marke, Danny Marks, Martin Ménégoz, Olga Nasonova, Tomoko Nitta, Masashi Niwano, John Pomeroy, Mark S. Raleigh, Gerd Schaedler, Vladimir Semenov, Tanya G. Smirnova, Tobias Stacke, Ulrich Strasser, Sean Svenson, Dmitry Turkov, Tao Wang, Nander Wever, Hua Yuan, Wenyan Zhou, and Dan Zhu
Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 5027–5049,Short summary
This paper provides an overview of a coordinated international experiment to determine the strengths and weaknesses in how climate models treat snow. The models will be assessed at point locations using high-quality reference measurements and globally using satellite-derived datasets. How well climate models simulate snow-related processes is important because changing snow cover is an important part of the global climate system and provides an important freshwater resource for human use.
Christian Gabriel Sommer, Nander Wever, Charles Fierz, and Michael Lehning
The Cryosphere, 12, 2923–2939,Short summary
Wind packing is how wind produces hard crusts at the surface of the snowpack. This is relevant for the local mass balance in polar regions. However, not much is known about this process and it is difficult to capture its high spatial and temporal variability. A wind-packing event was measured in Antarctica. It could be quantified how drifting snow leads to wind packing and generates barchan dunes. The documentation of these deposition dynamics is an important step in understanding polar snow.
Nander Wever, Sebastian Würzer, Charles Fierz, and Michael Lehning
The Cryosphere, 10, 2731–2744,Short summary
The study presents a dual domain approach to simulate liquid water flow in snow using the 1-D physics based snow cover model SNOWPACK. In this approach, the pore space is separated into a part for matrix flow and a part that represents preferential flow. Using this approach, water can percolate sub-freezing snow and form dense (ice) layers. A comparison with snow pits shows that some of the observed ice layers were reproduced by the model while others remain challenging to simulate.
Martin Proksch, Nick Rutter, Charles Fierz, and Martin Schneebeli
The Cryosphere, 10, 371–384,Short summary
Density is a fundamental property of porous media such as snow. During the MicroSnow Davos 2014 workshop, different approaches (box-, wedge- and cylinder-type density cutters, micro-computed tomography) to measure snow density were applied in a controlled laboratory environment and in the field. In general, results suggest that snow densities measured by different methods agree within 9 %. However, the density profiles resolved by the measurement methods differed considerably.
N. Wever, L. Schmid, A. Heilig, O. Eisen, C. Fierz, and M. Lehning
The Cryosphere, 9, 2271–2293,Short summary
A verification of the physics based SNOWPACK model with field observations showed that typical snowpack properties like density and temperature are adequately simulated. Also two water transport schemes were verified, showing that although Richards equation improves snowpack runoff and several aspects of the internal snowpack structure, the bucket scheme appeared to have a higher agreement with the snow microstructure. The choice of water transport scheme may depend on the intended application.
N. Wever, T. Jonas, C. Fierz, and M. Lehning
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 4657–4669,Short summary
We simulated a severe rain-on-snow event in the Swiss Alps in October 2011 with a detailed multi-layer snow cover model. We found a strong modulating effect of the incoming rainfall signal by the snow cover. Initially, water from both rainfall and snow melt was absorbed by the snowpack. But once the snowpack released the stored water, simulated outflow rates exceeded rainfall and snow melt rates. The simulations suggest that structural snowpack changes enhanced the outflow during this event.
N. Wever, C. Fierz, C. Mitterer, H. Hirashima, and M. Lehning
The Cryosphere, 8, 257–274,
C. D. Groot Zwaaftink, A. Cagnati, A. Crepaz, C. Fierz, G. Macelloni, M. Valt, and M. Lehning
The Cryosphere, 7, 333–347,
Related subject area
Discipline: Snow | Subject: InstrumentationSpectral albedo measurements over snow-covered slopes: theory and slope effect correctionsContinuous and autonomous snow water equivalent measurements by a cosmic ray sensor on an alpine glacierMonitoring of snow surface near-infrared bidirectional reflectance factors with added light-absorbing particles
Ghislain Picard, Marie Dumont, Maxim Lamare, François Tuzet, Fanny Larue, Roberta Pirazzini, and Laurent Arnaud
The Cryosphere, 14, 1497–1517,Short summary
Surface albedo is an essential variable of snow-covered areas. The measurement of this variable over a tilted terrain with levelled sensors is affected by artefacts that need to be corrected. Here we develop a theory of spectral albedo measurement over slopes from which we derive four correction algorithms. The comparison to in situ measurements taken in the Alps shows the adequacy of the theory, and the application of the algorithms shows systematic improvements.
Rebecca Gugerli, Nadine Salzmann, Matthias Huss, and Darin Desilets
The Cryosphere, 13, 3413–3434,Short summary
The snow water equivalent (SWE) in high mountain regions is crucial for many applications. Yet its quantification remains difficult. We present autonomous daily SWE observations by a cosmic ray sensor (CRS) deployed on a Swiss glacier for two winter seasons. Combined with snow depth observations, we derive the daily bulk snow density. The validation with manual field observations and its measurement reliability show that the CRS is a promising device for high alpine cryospheric environments.
Adam Schneider, Mark Flanner, Roger De Roo, and Alden Adolph
The Cryosphere, 13, 1753–1766,Short summary
To study the process of snow aging, we engineered a prototype instrument called the Near-Infrared Emitting and Reflectance-Monitoring Dome (NERD). Using the NERD, we observed rapid snow aging in experiments with added light absorbing particles (LAPs). Particulate matter deposited on the snow increased absorption of solar energy and enhanced snow melt. These results indicate the role of LAPs' indirect effect on snow aging through a positive feedback mechanism related to the snow grain size.
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The amount of water stored in snow cover is of high importance for flood risks, climate change, and early-warning systems. We evaluate the potential of using GPS to estimate the stored water. We use GPS antennas buried underneath the snowpack and develop a model based on the path elongation of the GPS signals while propagating through the snowpack. The method works well over full seasons, including melt periods. Results correspond within 10 % to the state-of-the-art reference data.
The amount of water stored in snow cover is of high importance for flood risks, climate change,...