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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 9, issue 4
The Cryosphere, 9, 1363–1371, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-9-1363-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
The Cryosphere, 9, 1363–1371, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-9-1363-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 30 Jul 2015

Research article | 30 Jul 2015

Tomography-based monitoring of isothermal snow metamorphism under advective conditions

P. P. Ebner1,2, M. Schneebeli2, and A. Steinfeld1 P. P. Ebner et al.
  • 1Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, 7260 Davos-Dorf, Switzerland

Abstract. Time-lapse X-ray microtomography was used to investigate the structural dynamics of isothermal snow metamorphism exposed to an advective airflow. The effect of diffusion and advection across the snow pores on the snow microstructure were analysed in controlled laboratory experiments and possible effects on natural snowpacks discussed. The 3-D digital geometry obtained by tomographic scans was used in direct pore-level numerical simulations to determine the effective permeability. The results showed that isothermal advection with saturated air have no influence on the coarsening rate that is typical for isothermal snow metamorphism. Isothermal snow metamorphism is driven by sublimation deposition caused by the Kelvin effect and is the limiting factor independently of the transport regime in the pores.

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Short summary
Time-lapse X-ray microtomography was used to investigate the structural dynamics of isothermal snow metamorphism exposed to an advective airflow and possible effects on natural snowpacks were discussed. The results showed that isothermal advection with saturated air have no influence on the coarsening rate that is typical for isothermal snow metamorphism. It is driven by sublimation-deposition caused by Kelvin effect and is the limiting factor independently of the transport regime in the pores.
Time-lapse X-ray microtomography was used to investigate the structural dynamics of isothermal...
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