Measurement of the specific surface area of snow using infrared reflectance in an integrating sphere at 1310 and 1550 nm
Abstract. Even though the specific surface area (SSA) and the snow area index (SAI) of snow are crucial variables to determine the chemical and climatic impact of the snow cover, few data are available on the subject. We propose here a novel method to measure snow SSA and SAI. It is based on the measurement of the hemispherical infrared reflectance of snow samples using the DUFISSS instrument (DUal Frequency Integrating Sphere for Snow SSA measurement). DUFISSS uses the 1310 or 1550 nm radiation of laser diodes, an integrating sphere 15 cm in diameter, and InGaAs photodiodes. For SSA<60 m2 kg−1, we use the 1310 nm radiation, reflectance is between 15 and 50% and the accuracy of SSA determination is 10%. For SSA>60 m2 kg−1, snow is usually of low density (typically 30 to 100 kg m−3), resulting in insufficient optical depth and 1310 nm radiation reaches the bottom of the sample, causing artifacts. The 1550 nm radiation is therefore used for SSA>60 m2 kg−1. Reflectance is then in the range 5 to 12% and the accuracy on SSA is 12%. We propose empirical equations to determine SSA from reflectance at both wavelengths, with that for 1310 nm taking into account the snow density. DUFISSS has been used to measure the SSA of snow and the SAI of snowpacks in polar and Alpine regions.