Articles | Volume 13, issue 7
Research article
17 Jul 2019
Research article |  | 17 Jul 2019

Observation of the process of snow accumulation on the Antarctic Plateau by time lapse laser scanning

Ghislain Picard, Laurent Arnaud, Romain Caneill, Eric Lefebvre, and Maxim Lamare


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Short summary
To study how snow accumulates in Antarctica, we analyze daily surface elevation recorded by an automatic laser scanner. We show that new snow often accumulates in thick patches covering a small fraction of the surface. Most patches are removed by erosion within weeks, implying that only a few contribute to the snowpack. This explains the heterogeneity on the surface and in the snowpack. These findings are important for surface mass and energy balance, photochemistry, and ice core interpretation.