Articles | Volume 16, issue 3
Research article
11 Mar 2022
Research article |  | 11 Mar 2022

Elements of future snowpack modeling – Part 1: A physical instability arising from the nonlinear coupling of transport and phase changes

Konstantin Schürholt, Julia Kowalski, and Henning Löwe

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Cited articles

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Bader, H. and Weilenmann, P.: Modeling temperature distribution, energy and mass flow in a (phase-changing) snowpack. I. Model and case studies, Cold Reg. Sci. Technol., 20, 157–181, 1992. a, b, c
Barrere, M., Domine, F., Decharme, B., Morin, S., Vionnet, V., and Lafaysse, M.: Evaluating the performance of coupled snow–soil models in SURFEXv8 to simulate the permafrost thermal regime at a high Arctic site, Geosci. Model Dev., 10, 3461–3479,, 2017. a
Brun, E., Martin, E., Simon, V., Gendre, C., and Coleou, C.: An Energy and Mass Model of Snow Cover Suitable for Operational Avalanche Forecasting, J. Glaciol., 35, 333–342,, 1989. a
Short summary
This companion paper deals with numerical particularities of partial differential equations underlying 1D snow models. In this first part we neglect mechanical settling and demonstrate that the nonlinear coupling between diffusive transport (heat and vapor), phase changes and ice mass conservation contains a wave instability that may be relevant for weak layer formation. Numerical requirements are discussed in view of the underlying homogenization scheme.