Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Research article 02 Jun 2015
Research article | 02 Jun 2015
Snowfall in the Himalayas: an uncertain future from a little-known past
E. Viste and A. Sorteberg
No articles found.
Stein Bondevik and Asgeir Sorteberg
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 4147–4158,Short summary
Pore pressure is important for the trigger of debris slides and flows. But how, exactly, does the pore pressure vary just before a slide happens? We drilled and installed a piezometer 1.6 m below the ground in a hillslope susceptible to debris flows in western Norway and measured pore pressure and water temperature through the years 2010–2013. We found the largest anomaly in our groundwater data during the storm named Hilde in November in 2013, when a debris flow happened in this slope.
Ida Marie Solbrekke, Asgeir Sorteberg, and Hilde Haakenstad
Wind Energ. Sci. Discuss.,
Revised manuscript accepted for WESShort summary
A new high-resolution data set (NORA3) is validated for offshore wind power purposes for the North Sea and Norwegian Sea. The purpose of the validation is to ensure that NORA3 can act as a planning tool for future offshore wind power installations in the area of concern. The general conclusion of the validation is that NORA3 is well suited for wind power estimates, but gives slightly conservative estimates on the offshore wind metrics.
Ida Marie Solbrekke, Nils Gunnar Kvamstø, and Asgeir Sorteberg
Wind Energ. Sci., 5, 1663–1678,Short summary
The potential of collective offshore wind power is quantified using 16 years of hourly wind speed observations. Wind power intermittency is reduced through a hypothetical electricity grid connecting five sites at the Norwegian continental shelf. We identify large-scale atmospheric situations resulting in long-term periods of power shutdown. Wind power variability and risk measures decrease in an interconnected wind power system.
Related subject area
Seasonal SnowRecent changes in pan-Arctic sea ice, lake ice, and snow-on/off timingLocal-scale variability of seasonal mean and extreme values of in situ snow depth and snowfall measurementsObserved snow depth trends in the European Alps: 1971 to 2019Snow Ensemble Uncertainty Project (SEUP): quantification of snow water equivalent uncertainty across North America via ensemble land surface modelingQuantification of the radiative impact of light-absorbing particles during two contrasted snow seasons at Col du Lautaret (2058 m a.s.l., French Alps)Local-scale variability of snow density on Arctic sea iceSnow depth estimation and historical data reconstruction over China based on a random forest machine learning approachEvaluation of long-term Northern Hemisphere snow water equivalent productsTowards a webcam-based snow cover monitoring network: methodology and evaluationSimulated single-layer forest canopies delay Northern Hemisphere snowmeltSpatiotemporal variability and decadal trends of snowmelt processes on Antarctic sea ice observed by satellite scatterometersConverting snow depth to snow water equivalent using climatological variablesAvalanches and micrometeorology driving mass and energy balance of the lowest perennial ice field of the Alps: a case studyThe optical characteristics and sources of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in seasonal snow of northwestern ChinaBrief Communication: Early season snowpack loss and implications for oversnow vehicle recreation travel planningMulti-component ensembles of future meteorological and natural snow conditions for 1500 m altitude in the Chartreuse mountain range, Northern French AlpsCanadian snow and sea ice: assessment of snow, sea ice, and related climate processes in Canada's Earth system model and climate-prediction systemCanadian snow and sea ice: historical trends and projectionsImproving gridded snow water equivalent products in British Columbia, Canada: multi-source data fusion by neural network modelsBlack carbon and mineral dust in snow cover on the Tibetan PlateauSnow farming: conserving snow over the summer seasonEnsemble-based assimilation of fractional snow-covered area satellite retrievals to estimate the snow distribution at Arctic sitesSpatiotemporal variability of snow depth across the Eurasian continent from 1966 to 2012Measuring snow water equivalent from common-offset GPR records through migration velocity analysisSnow water equivalent in the Alps as seen by gridded data sets, CMIP5 and CORDEX climate modelsProperties of black carbon and other insoluble light-absorbing particles in seasonal snow of northwestern ChinaIn situ continuous visible and near-infrared spectroscopy of an alpine snowpackEurasian snow depth in long-term climate reanalysesDetermination of snowmaking efficiency on a ski slope from observations and modelling of snowmaking events and seasonal snow accumulationDistributed snow and rock temperature modelling in steep rock walls using Alpine3DHow much can we save? Impact of different emission scenarios on future snow cover in the AlpsFuture snow? A spatial-probabilistic assessment of the extraordinarily low snowpacks of 2014 and 2015 in the Oregon CascadesSnow fracture in relation to slab avalanche release: critical state for the onset of crack propagationMicrostructure representation of snow in coupled snowpack and microwave emission modelsEvaluation of single-band snow-patch mapping using high-resolution microwave remote sensing: an application in the maritime AntarcticRelationships between snowfall density and solid hydrometeors, based on measured size and fall speed, for snowpack modeling applicationsSimulating ice layer formation under the presence of preferential flow in layered snowpacksTemporal evolution of crack propagation propensity in snow in relation to slab and weak layer propertiesFrequency and distribution of winter melt events from passive microwave satellite data in the pan-Arctic, 1988–2013Seasonal evolution of the effective thermal conductivity of the snow and the soil in high Arctic herb tundra at Bylot Island, CanadaSpatiotemporal dynamics of snow cover based on multi-source remote sensing data in ChinaBrief communication: Improved measurement of ice layer density in seasonal snowpacksMapping snow depth in open alpine terrain from stereo satellite imageryCase study of spatial and temporal variability of snow cover, grain size, albedo and radiative forcing in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountain snowpack derived from imaging spectroscopyCalibration of a non-invasive cosmic-ray probe for wide area snow water equivalent measurementUsing a fixed-wing UAS to map snow depth distribution: an evaluation at peak accumulationSnow and albedo climate change impacts across the United States Northern Great PlainsSoot on Snow experiment: bidirectional reflectance factor measurements of contaminated snowVerification of the multi-layer SNOWPACK model with different water transport schemesProjected 21st century changes in snow water equivalent over Northern Hemisphere landmasses from the CMIP5 model ensemble
Alicia A. Dauginis and Laura C. Brown
The Cryosphere, 15, 4781–4805,Short summary
This work examines changes in the timing (on/off dates) of Arctic snow, lake ice, and sea ice to investigate how they have responded to recent climate change and determine if they are responding similarly. We looked at pan-Arctic trends since 1997 and regional trends since 2004 using (mainly) satellite data. Strong regional variability was shown in the snow and ice trends, which highlights the need for a detailed understanding of the regional response to ongoing changes in the Arctic climate.
Moritz Buchmann, Michael Begert, Stefan Brönnimann, and Christoph Marty
The Cryosphere, 15, 4625–4636,Short summary
We investigated the impacts of local-scale variations by analysing snow climate indicators derived from parallel snow measurements. We found the largest relative inter-pair differences for all indicators in spring and the smallest in winter. The findings serve as an important basis for our understanding of uncertainties of commonly used snow indicators and provide, in combination with break-detection methods, the groundwork in view of any homogenization efforts regarding snow time series.
Michael Matiu, Alice Crespi, Giacomo Bertoldi, Carlo Maria Carmagnola, Christoph Marty, Samuel Morin, Wolfgang Schöner, Daniele Cat Berro, Gabriele Chiogna, Ludovica De Gregorio, Sven Kotlarski, Bruno Majone, Gernot Resch, Silvia Terzago, Mauro Valt, Walter Beozzo, Paola Cianfarra, Isabelle Gouttevin, Giorgia Marcolini, Claudia Notarnicola, Marcello Petitta, Simon C. Scherrer, Ulrich Strasser, Michael Winkler, Marc Zebisch, Andrea Cicogna, Roberto Cremonini, Andrea Debernardi, Mattia Faletto, Mauro Gaddo, Lorenzo Giovannini, Luca Mercalli, Jean-Michel Soubeyroux, Andrea Sušnik, Alberto Trenti, Stefano Urbani, and Viktor Weilguni
The Cryosphere, 15, 1343–1382,Short summary
The first Alpine-wide assessment of station snow depth has been enabled by a collaborative effort of the research community which involves more than 30 partners, 6 countries, and more than 2000 stations. It shows how snow in the European Alps matches the climatic zones and gives a robust estimate of observed changes: stronger decreases in the snow season at low elevations and in spring at all elevations, however, with considerable regional differences.
Rhae Sung Kim, Sujay Kumar, Carrie Vuyovich, Paul Houser, Jessica Lundquist, Lawrence Mudryk, Michael Durand, Ana Barros, Edward J. Kim, Barton A. Forman, Ethan D. Gutmann, Melissa L. Wrzesien, Camille Garnaud, Melody Sandells, Hans-Peter Marshall, Nicoleta Cristea, Justin M. Pflug, Jeremy Johnston, Yueqian Cao, David Mocko, and Shugong Wang
The Cryosphere, 15, 771–791,Short summary
High SWE uncertainty is observed in mountainous and forested regions, highlighting the need for high-resolution snow observations in these regions. Substantial uncertainty in snow water storage in Tundra regions and the dominance of water storage in these regions points to the need for high-accuracy snow estimation. Finally, snow measurements during the melt season are most needed at high latitudes, whereas observations at near peak snow accumulations are most beneficial over the midlatitudes.
François Tuzet, Marie Dumont, Ghislain Picard, Maxim Lamare, Didier Voisin, Pierre Nabat, Mathieu Lafaysse, Fanny Larue, Jesus Revuelto, and Laurent Arnaud
The Cryosphere, 14, 4553–4579,Short summary
This study presents a field dataset collected over 30 d from two snow seasons at a Col du Lautaret site (French Alps). The dataset compares different measurements or estimates of light-absorbing particle (LAP) concentrations in snow, highlighting a gap in the current understanding of the measurement of these quantities. An ensemble snowpack model is then evaluated for this dataset estimating that LAPs shorten each snow season by around 10 d despite contrasting meteorological conditions.
Joshua King, Stephen Howell, Mike Brady, Peter Toose, Chris Derksen, Christian Haas, and Justin Beckers
The Cryosphere, 14, 4323–4339,Short summary
Physical measurements of snow on sea ice are sparse, making it difficulty to evaluate satellite estimates or model representations. Here, we introduce new measurements of snow properties on sea ice to better understand variability at distances less than 200 m. Our work shows that similarities in the snow structure are found at longer distances on younger ice than older ice.
Jianwei Yang, Lingmei Jiang, Kari Luojus, Jinmei Pan, Juha Lemmetyinen, Matias Takala, and Shengli Wu
The Cryosphere, 14, 1763–1778,Short summary
There are many challenges for accurate snow depth estimation using passive microwave data. Machine learning (ML) techniques are deemed to be powerful tools for establishing nonlinear relations between independent variables and a given target variable. In this study, we investigate the potential capability of the random forest (RF) model on snow depth estimation at temporal and spatial scales. The result indicates that the fitted RF algorithms perform better on temporal than spatial scales.
Colleen Mortimer, Lawrence Mudryk, Chris Derksen, Kari Luojus, Ross Brown, Richard Kelly, and Marco Tedesco
The Cryosphere, 14, 1579–1594,Short summary
Existing stand-alone passive microwave SWE products have markedly different climatological SWE patterns compared to reanalysis-based datasets. The AMSR-E SWE has low spatial and temporal correlations with the four reanalysis-based products evaluated and GlobSnow and perform poorly in comparisons with snow transect data from Finland, Russia, and Canada. There is better agreement with in situ data when multiple SWE products, excluding the stand-alone passive microwave SWE products, are combined.
Céline Portenier, Fabia Hüsler, Stefan Härer, and Stefan Wunderle
The Cryosphere, 14, 1409–1423,Short summary
We present a method to derive snow cover maps from freely available webcam images in the Swiss Alps. With marginal manual user input, we can transform a webcam image into a georeferenced map and therewith perform snow cover analyses with a high spatiotemporal resolution over a large area. Our evaluation has shown that webcams could not only serve as a reference for improved validation of satellite-based approaches, but also complement satellite-based snow cover retrieval.
Markus Todt, Nick Rutter, Christopher G. Fletcher, and Leanne M. Wake
The Cryosphere, 13, 3077–3091,Short summary
Vegetation is often represented by a single layer in global land models. Studies have found deficient simulation of thermal radiation beneath forest canopies when represented by single-layer vegetation. This study corrects thermal radiation in forests for a global land model using single-layer vegetation in order to assess the effect of deficient thermal radiation on snow cover and snowmelt. Results indicate that single-layer vegetation causes snow in forests to be too cold and melt too late.
Stefanie Arndt and Christian Haas
The Cryosphere, 13, 1943–1958,
David F. Hill, Elizabeth A. Burakowski, Ryan L. Crumley, Julia Keon, J. Michelle Hu, Anthony A. Arendt, Katreen Wikstrom Jones, and Gabriel J. Wolken
The Cryosphere, 13, 1767–1784,Short summary
We present a new statistical model for converting snow depths to water equivalent. The only variables required are snow depth, day of year, and location. We use the location to look up climatological parameters such as mean winter precipitation and mean temperature difference (difference between hottest month and coldest month). The model is simple by design so that it can be applied to depth measurements anywhere, anytime. The model is shown to perform better than other widely used approaches.
Rebecca Mott, Andreas Wolf, Maximilian Kehl, Harald Kunstmann, Michael Warscher, and Thomas Grünewald
The Cryosphere, 13, 1247–1265,Short summary
The mass balance of very small glaciers is often governed by anomalous snow accumulation, winter precipitation being multiplied by snow redistribution processes, or by suppressed snow ablation driven by micrometeorological effects lowering net radiation and turbulent heat exchange. In this study we discuss the relative contribution of snow accumulation (avalanches) versus micrometeorology (katabatic flow) on the mass balance of the lowest perennial ice field of the Alps, the Ice Chapel.
Yue Zhou, Hui Wen, Jun Liu, Wei Pu, Qingcai Chen, and Xin Wang
The Cryosphere, 13, 157–175,Short summary
We first investigated the optical characteristics and potential sources of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in seasonal snow over northwestern China. The abundance of CDOM showed regional variation. At some sites strongly influenced by local soil, the absorption of CDOM cannot be neglected compared to black carbon. We found two humic-like and one protein-like fluorophores in snow. The major sources of snow CDOM were soil, biomass burning, and anthropogenic pollution.
Benjamin J. Hatchett and Hilary G. Eisen
The Cryosphere, 13, 21–28,Short summary
We examine the timing of early season snowpack relevant to oversnow vehicle (OSV) recreation over the past 3 decades in the Lake Tahoe region (USA). Data from two independent data sources suggest that the timing of achieving sufficient snowpack has shifted later by 2 weeks. Increasing rainfall and more dry days play a role in the later onset. Adaptation strategies are provided for winter travel management planning to address negative impacts of loss of early season snowpack for OSV usage.
Deborah Verfaillie, Matthieu Lafaysse, Michel Déqué, Nicolas Eckert, Yves Lejeune, and Samuel Morin
The Cryosphere, 12, 1249–1271,Short summary
This article addresses local changes of seasonal snow and its meteorological drivers, at 1500 m altitude in the Chartreuse mountain range in the Northern French Alps, for the period 1960–2100. We use an ensemble of adjusted RCM outputs consistent with IPCC AR5 GCM outputs (RCPs 2.6, 4.5 and 8.5) and the snowpack model Crocus. Beyond scenario-based approach, global temperature levels on the order of 1.5 °C and 2 °C above preindustrial levels correspond to 25 and 32% reduction of mean snow depth.
Paul J. Kushner, Lawrence R. Mudryk, William Merryfield, Jaison T. Ambadan, Aaron Berg, Adéline Bichet, Ross Brown, Chris Derksen, Stephen J. Déry, Arlan Dirkson, Greg Flato, Christopher G. Fletcher, John C. Fyfe, Nathan Gillett, Christian Haas, Stephen Howell, Frédéric Laliberté, Kelly McCusker, Michael Sigmond, Reinel Sospedra-Alfonso, Neil F. Tandon, Chad Thackeray, Bruno Tremblay, and Francis W. Zwiers
The Cryosphere, 12, 1137–1156,Short summary
Here, the Canadian research network CanSISE uses state-of-the-art observations of snow and sea ice to assess how Canada's climate model and climate prediction systems capture variability in snow, sea ice, and related climate parameters. We find that the system performs well, accounting for observational uncertainty (especially for snow), model uncertainty, and chaotic climate variability. Even for variables like sea ice, where improvement is needed, useful prediction tools can be developed.
Lawrence R. Mudryk, Chris Derksen, Stephen Howell, Fred Laliberté, Chad Thackeray, Reinel Sospedra-Alfonso, Vincent Vionnet, Paul J. Kushner, and Ross Brown
The Cryosphere, 12, 1157–1176,Short summary
This paper presents changes in both snow and sea ice that have occurred over Canada during the recent past and shows climate model estimates for future changes expected to occur by the year 2050. The historical changes of snow and sea ice are generally coherent and consistent with the regional history of temperature and precipitation changes. It is expected that snow and sea ice will continue to decrease in the future, declining by an additional 15–30 % from present day values by the year 2050.
Andrew M. Snauffer, William W. Hsieh, Alex J. Cannon, and Markus A. Schnorbus
The Cryosphere, 12, 891–905,Short summary
Estimating winter snowpack throughout British Columbia is challenging due to the complex terrain, thick forests, and high snow accumulations present. This paper describes a way to make better snow estimates by combining publicly available data using machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence research. These improved estimates will help water resources managers better plan for changes in rivers and lakes fed by spring snowmelt and will aid other research that supports such planning.
Yulan Zhang, Shichang Kang, Michael Sprenger, Zhiyuan Cong, Tanguang Gao, Chaoliu Li, Shu Tao, Xiaofei Li, Xinyue Zhong, Min Xu, Wenjun Meng, Bigyan Neupane, Xiang Qin, and Mika Sillanpää
The Cryosphere, 12, 413–431,Short summary
Light-absorbing impurities deposited on snow can reduce surface albedo and contribute to the near-worldwide melting of snowpack and ice. This study focused on the black carbon and mineral dust in snow cover on the Tibetan Plateau. We discussed their concentrations, distributions, possible sources, and albedo reduction and radiative forcing. Findings indicated that the impacts of black carbon and mineral dust need to be properly accounted for in future regional climate projections.
Thomas Grünewald, Fabian Wolfsperger, and Michael Lehning
The Cryosphere, 12, 385–400,Short summary
Snow farming is the conservation of snow during summer. Large snow piles are covered with a sawdust insulation layer, reducing melt and guaranteeing a specific amount of available snow in autumn, independent of the weather conditions. Snow volume changes in two heaps were monitored, showing that about a third of the snow was lost. Model simulations confirmed the large effect of the insulation on energy balance and melt. The model can now be used as a tool to examine future snow-farming projects.
Kristoffer Aalstad, Sebastian Westermann, Thomas Vikhamar Schuler, Julia Boike, and Laurent Bertino
The Cryosphere, 12, 247–270,Short summary
We demonstrate how snow cover data from satellites can be used to constrain estimates of snow distributions at sites in the Arctic. In this effort, we make use of data assimilation to combine the information contained in the snow cover data with a simple snow model. By comparing our snow distribution estimates to independent observations, we find that this method performs favorably. Being modular, this method could be applied to other areas as a component of a larger reanalysis system.
Xinyue Zhong, Tingjun Zhang, Shichang Kang, Kang Wang, Lei Zheng, Yuantao Hu, and Huijuan Wang
The Cryosphere, 12, 227–245,
James St. Clair and W. Steven Holbrook
The Cryosphere, 11, 2997–3009,Short summary
We investigate the performance of a semiautomated algorithm for measuring snow water equivalent (SWE) from common-offset ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data. GPR-derived SWE estimates are similar to manual measurements, indicating that the method is reliable. Our results will hopefully make GPR a more attractive tool for monitoring SWE in mountain watersheds.
Silvia Terzago, Jost von Hardenberg, Elisa Palazzi, and Antonello Provenzale
The Cryosphere, 11, 1625–1645,Short summary
The estimate of the current and future conditions of snow resources in mountain areas depends on the availability of reliable fine-resolution data sets and of climate models capable of properly representing snow processes and snow–climate interactions. This work considers the snow water equivalent data sets from remote sensing, reanalyses, regional and global climate models available for the Alps and explores their ability to provide a coherent view of the snowpack features and its changes.
Wei Pu, Xin Wang, Hailun Wei, Yue Zhou, Jinsen Shi, Zhiyuan Hu, Hongchun Jin, and Quanliang Chen
The Cryosphere, 11, 1213–1233,Short summary
We conducted a large field campaign to collect snow samples in Xinjiang. We measured insoluble light-absorbing particles with estimated black carbon concentrations of 10–150 ngg-1. We found a probable shift in emission sources with the progression of winter and dominated contributions of BC and OC to light absorption. A PMF model indicated an optimal three-factor/source solution that included industrial pollution, biomass burning, and soil dust.
Marie Dumont, Laurent Arnaud, Ghislain Picard, Quentin Libois, Yves Lejeune, Pierre Nabat, Didier Voisin, and Samuel Morin
The Cryosphere, 11, 1091–1110,Short summary
Snow spectral albedo in the visible/near-infrared range has been continuously measured during a winter season at Col de Porte alpine site (French Alps; 45.30° N, 5.77°E; 1325 m a.s.l.). This study highlights that the variations of spectral albedo can be successfully explained by variations of the following snow surface variables: snow-specific surface area, effective light-absorbing impurities content, presence of liquid water and slope.
Martin Wegmann, Yvan Orsolini, Emanuel Dutra, Olga Bulygina, Alexander Sterin, and Stefan Brönnimann
The Cryosphere, 11, 923–935,Short summary
We investigate long-term climate reanalyses datasets to infer their quality in reproducing snow depth values compared to in situ measured data from meteorological stations that go back to 1900. We found that the long-term reanalyses do a good job in reproducing snow depths but have some questionable snow states early in the 20th century. Thus, with care, climate reanalyses can be a valuable tool to investigate spatial snow evolution in global warming and climate change studies.
Pierre Spandre, Hugues François, Emmanuel Thibert, Samuel Morin, and Emmanuelle George-Marcelpoil
The Cryosphere, 11, 891–909,Short summary
The production of machine-made snow is generalized in ski resorts and represents the most common adaptation method to mitigate effects of climate variability and its projected changes. However, the actual snow mass that can be recovered from a given water mass used for snowmaking remains poorly known. All results were consistent with 60 % (±10 %) of the water mass found as snow within the edge of the ski slope, with most of the lost fraction of water being due to site-dependent characteristics.
Anna Haberkorn, Nander Wever, Martin Hoelzle, Marcia Phillips, Robert Kenner, Mathias Bavay, and Michael Lehning
The Cryosphere, 11, 585–607,Short summary
The effects of permafrost degradation on rock slope stability in the Alps affect people and infrastructure. Modelling the evolution of permafrost is therefore of great importance. However, the snow cover has generally not been taken into account in model studies of steep, rugged rock walls. Thus, we present a distributed model study on the influence of the snow cover on rock temperatures. The promising results are discussed against detailed rock temperature measurements and snow depth data.
Christoph Marty, Sebastian Schlögl, Mathias Bavay, and Michael Lehning
The Cryosphere, 11, 517–529,Short summary
We simulate the future snow cover in the Alps with the help of a snow model, which is fed by projected temperature and precipitation changes from a large set of climate models. The results demonstrate that snow below 1000 m is probably a rare guest at the end of the century. Moreover, even above 3000 m the simulations show a drastic decrease in snow depth. However, the results reveal that the projected snow cover reduction can be mitigated by 50 % if we manage to keep global warming below 2°.
Eric A. Sproles, Travis R. Roth, and Anne W. Nolin
The Cryosphere, 11, 331–341,Short summary
We present an innovative approach to quantify basin-wide snowpack using calculations of spatial exceedance probability. Our method quantifies how the extraordinarily low snowpacks of 2014 and 2015 in the Pacific Northwest of the United States compare to snowpacks in warmer conditions and the probability that similar snowpacks will occur. We present these extraordinarily low snowpacks as snow analogs to develop anticipatory capacity for natural resource management under warmer conditions.
Johan Gaume, Alec van Herwijnen, Guillaume Chambon, Nander Wever, and Jürg Schweizer
The Cryosphere, 11, 217–228,Short summary
Based on DEM simulations we developed a new model for the onset of crack propagation in snow slab avalanche release. The model reconciles past approaches by considering the complex interplay between slab elasticity and the mechanical behavior of the weak layer including its structural collapse. The model agrees with extensive field data and can reproduce crack propagation on low-angle terrain and the decrease in critical crack length with increasing slope angle observed in numerical experiments.
Melody Sandells, Richard Essery, Nick Rutter, Leanne Wake, Leena Leppänen, and Juha Lemmetyinen
The Cryosphere, 11, 229–246,Short summary
This study looks at a wide range of options for simulating sensor signals for satellite monitoring of water stored as snow, though an ensemble of 1323 coupled snow evolution and microwave scattering models. The greatest improvements will be made with better computer simulations of how the snow microstructure changes, followed by how the microstructure scatters radiation at microwave frequencies. Snow compaction should also be considered in systems to monitor snow mass from space.
Carla Mora, Juan Javier Jiménez, Pedro Pina, João Catalão, and Gonçalo Vieira
The Cryosphere, 11, 139–155,Short summary
We evaluate the use of high-resolution microwave satellite images from TerraSAR-X for mapping snow-patch distribution in ice-free areas of the maritime Antarctic (King George Island). The imagery was acquired simultaneously to ground truthing of snow. Image classification resulted in very high accuracy when discriminating between snow, water and bare ground. The method provides a solution for characterizing the snowmelt patterns in the ice-free areas of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Masaaki Ishizaka, Hiroki Motoyoshi, Satoru Yamaguchi, Sento Nakai, Toru Shiina, and Ken-ichiro Muramoto
The Cryosphere, 10, 2831–2845,Short summary
We measured the snowfall densities with a CCD camera, simultaneously observing the predominant snowfall types determined by the measured size and the fall speed. With a CCD camera, we obtain the quantitative relationships between snowfall densities and presumed density derived from the size and mass components. This suggests the possibility of estimating snowfall densities from the measured size and the fall speed data, and using them as the initial densities for a snowpack in a numerical model.
Nander Wever, Sebastian Würzer, Charles Fierz, and Michael Lehning
The Cryosphere, 10, 2731–2744,Short summary
The study presents a dual domain approach to simulate liquid water flow in snow using the 1-D physics based snow cover model SNOWPACK. In this approach, the pore space is separated into a part for matrix flow and a part that represents preferential flow. Using this approach, water can percolate sub-freezing snow and form dense (ice) layers. A comparison with snow pits shows that some of the observed ice layers were reproduced by the model while others remain challenging to simulate.
Jürg Schweizer, Benjamin Reuter, Alec van Herwijnen, Bettina Richter, and Johan Gaume
The Cryosphere, 10, 2637–2653,
Libo Wang, Peter Toose, Ross Brown, and Chris Derksen
The Cryosphere, 10, 2589–2602,Short summary
The conventional wisdom is that Arctic warming will result in an increase in the frequency of winter melt events. However, results in this study show little evidence of trends in winter melt frequency over 1988–2013 period. The frequency of winter melt events is strongly influenced by the selection of the start and end dates of winter period, and a fixed-window method for analyzing winter melt events is observed to generate false increasing trends from a shift in the timing of snow cover season.
Florent Domine, Mathieu Barrere, and Denis Sarrazin
The Cryosphere, 10, 2573–2588,Short summary
The thermal conductivity (TC) of the snow and top soil greatly impacts the permafrost energy budget. We report the first winter-long monitoring of snow and soil TC in the high Arctic. The data and field observations show the formation of a highly insulating basal depth hoar layer overlaid by a more conductive wind slab. Detailed snow physics models developed for alpine snow cannot reproduce observations because they neglect the strong upward vertical water vapor flux prevailing in Arctic snow.
Xiaodong Huang, Jie Deng, Xiaofang Ma, Yunlong Wang, Qisheng Feng, Xiaohua Hao, and Tiangang Liang
The Cryosphere, 10, 2453–2463,Short summary
Integrated snow products were used to analyze the temporal and spatial variation of the snow cover in China during 2000–2014. The results indicated that the overall annual number of snow-covered days and average snow depth in China have increased in the past 14 years, but differences in the snow cover variation in China were significant. Overall, the snow cover increased significantly in south and northeast China, but decreased significantly in Xinjiang and the Tibetan Plateau.
Tom Watts, Nick Rutter, Peter Toose, Chris Derksen, Melody Sandells, and John Woodward
The Cryosphere, 10, 2069–2074,Short summary
Ice layers in snowpacks introduce uncertainty in satellite-derived estimates of snow water equivalent, have ecological impacts on plants and animals, and change the thermal and vapour transport properties of the snowpack. Here we present a new field method for measuring the density of ice layers. The method was used in the Arctic and mid-latitudes; the mean measured ice layer density was significantly higher than values typically used in the literature.
R. Marti, S. Gascoin, E. Berthier, M. de Pinel, T. Houet, and D. Laffly
The Cryosphere, 10, 1361–1380,Short summary
To date, there is no definitive approach to map snow depth in mountainous areas from spaceborne sensors. We used very-high-resolution stereo satellites imagery (Pléiades) to generate a map of snow depth in a small Pyrenean catchment. The validation results are promising and open the possibility to retrieve the snow depth at a metric horizontal resolution in remote mountainous areas, even when no field data are available.
Felix C. Seidel, Karl Rittger, S. McKenzie Skiles, Noah P. Molotch, and Thomas H. Painter
The Cryosphere, 10, 1229–1244,Short summary
Quantifying the snow albedo effect is an important step to predict water availability as well as changes in climate and sea level. We use imaging spectroscopy to determine optical properties of mountain snow. We find an inverse relationship between snow albedo and grain size as well as between elevation and grain size. Under strong melt conditions, however, we show that the optical-equivalent snow grain size increases slower than expected at lower elevations and we explain possible reasons.
Mark J. P. Sigouin and Bing C. Si
The Cryosphere, 10, 1181–1190,Short summary
The cosmic-ray soil moisture probe (CRP) uses the natural above ground neutron intensity to measure soil water content at a landscape scale. The goal of our research was to use the CRP to monitor how much water is in snowpacks, since snow and soil water affect neutron intensity similarly. We developed a relationship between neutron intensity and snow water. We used the relationship to estimate snow water non-invasively in an area of ~ 300 m radius using neutron intensity readings from the CRP.
Carlo De Michele, Francesco Avanzi, Daniele Passoni, Riccardo Barzaghi, Livio Pinto, Paolo Dosso, Antonio Ghezzi, Roberto Gianatti, and Giacomo Della Vedova
The Cryosphere, 10, 511–522,Short summary
We investigate snow depth distribution at peak accumulation over a small Alpine area using photogrammetry-based surveys with a fixed wing unmanned aerial system. Results reveal that UAS estimations of point snow depth present an average difference with reference to manual measurements equal to -0.073 m. Moreover, in this case study snow depth standard deviation (hence coefficient of variation) increases with decreasing cell size, but it stabilizes for resolutions smaller than 1 m.
S. R. Fassnacht, M. L. Cherry, N. B. H. Venable, and F. Saavedra
The Cryosphere, 10, 329–339,Short summary
We used 60 years of daily meteorological data from 20 stations across the US Northern Great Plains to examine climate trends, focusing on the winter climate. Besides standard climate trends, we computed trends in snowfall amounts, days with precipitation, days with snow, and modelled winter albedo (surface reflectivity). Daily minimum temperatures and days with precipitation increased at most locations, while winter albedo decreased at many stations. There was much spatial variability.
J. I. Peltoniemi, M. Gritsevich, T. Hakala, P. Dagsson-Waldhauserová, Ó. Arnalds, K. Anttila, H.-R. Hannula, N. Kivekäs, H. Lihavainen, O. Meinander, J. Svensson, A. Virkkula, and G. de Leeuw
The Cryosphere, 9, 2323–2337,Short summary
Light-absorbing impurities change the reflectance of snow in different ways. Some particles are heated by the Sun and they sink out of sight. During the process, snow may look darker than pure snow when observed by nadir, but at larger view zenith angles the snow may look as white as clean snow. Thus an observer on the ground may overestimate the albedo, while a satellite underestimates the albedo. Climate studies need to examine how the contaminants behave in snow, not only their total amounts.
N. Wever, L. Schmid, A. Heilig, O. Eisen, C. Fierz, and M. Lehning
The Cryosphere, 9, 2271–2293,Short summary
A verification of the physics based SNOWPACK model with field observations showed that typical snowpack properties like density and temperature are adequately simulated. Also two water transport schemes were verified, showing that although Richards equation improves snowpack runoff and several aspects of the internal snowpack structure, the bucket scheme appeared to have a higher agreement with the snow microstructure. The choice of water transport scheme may depend on the intended application.
H. X. Shi and C. H. Wang
The Cryosphere, 9, 1943–1953,
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Snow and ice provide large amounts of meltwater to the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. In this study we show that climate change will reduce the amount of snow falling in the Himalayas, Hindu Kush and Karakoram substantially. The limited number of observations in remote upper-level terrain makes it difficult to get a complete overview of the situation today, but our results indicate that by 2071–2100 snowfall may be reduced by 30–70% with the strongest anthropogenic forcing scenario.
Snow and ice provide large amounts of meltwater to the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. In...