Articles | Volume 13, issue 1
Research article
08 Jan 2019
Research article |  | 08 Jan 2019

Impacts of topographic shading on direct solar radiation for valley glaciers in complex topography

Matthew Olson and Summer Rupper

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Cited articles

Aguilar, C., Herrero, J., and Polo, M. J.: Topographic effects on solar radiation distribution in mountainous watersheds and their influence on reference evapotranspiration estimates at watershed scale, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 2479–2494,, 2010. 
Arnold, N. S., Rees, W. G., Hodson, A. J., and Kohler, J.: Topographic controls on the surface energy balance of a high Arctic valley glacier, J. Geophys. Res., 111, F02011,, 2006. 
Bajracharya, S. R. and Shrestha, B. R.: The status of glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), 2011. 
Chen, X., Su, Z., Ma, Y., Yang, K., and Wang, B.: Estimation of surface energy fluxes under complex terrain of Mt. Qomolangma over the Tibetan Plateau, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 1607–1618,, 2013. 
Short summary
Solar radiation is the largest energy input for most alpine glaciers. However, many models oversimplify the influence of topographic shading. Also, no systematic studies have explored the variable impact of shading on glacier ice. We find that shading can significantly impact modeled solar radiation, particularly at low elevations, at high latitudes, and for glaciers with a north/south orientation. Excluding the effects of shading will overestimate modeled solar radiation for alpine glaciers.