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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Revised manuscript under review for TC
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Cited articles

Adodo, F. I., Remy, F., and Picard, G.: Seasonal variations of the backscattering coefficient measured by radar altimeters over the Antarctic Ice Sheet, The Cryosphere, 12, 1767–1778,, 2018. a
Agosta, C., Amory, C., Kittel, C., Orsi, A., Favier, V., Gallée, H., van den Broeke, M. R., Lenaerts, J. T. M., van Wessem, J. M., van de Berg, W. J., and Fettweis, X.: Estimation of the Antarctic surface mass balance using the regional climate model MAR (1979–2015) and identification of dominant processes, The Cryosphere, 13, 281–296,, 2019. a, b, c
Amory, C., Naaim-Bouvet, F., Gallée, H., and Vignon, E.: Brief communication: Two well-marked cases of aerodynamic adjustment of sastrugi, The Cryosphere, 10, 743–750,, 2016. a
Amory, C., Gallée, H., Naaim-Bouvet, F., Favier, V., Vignon, E., Picard, G., Trouvilliez, A., Piard, L., Genthon, C., and Bellot, H.: Seasonal Variations in Drag Coefficient over a Sastrugi-Covered Snowfield in Coastal East Antarctica, Bound.-Lay. Meteorol., 164, 107–133,, 2017. a
Arthern, R. J., Winebrenner, D. P., and Vaughan, D. G.: Antarctic snow accumulation mapped using polarization of 4.3-cm wavelength microwave emission, J. Geophys. Res., 111, D06107,, 2006. a
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.