21 Feb 2019
21 Feb 2019
Status: this discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Blowing snow in East Antarctica: comparison of ground-based and space-borne retrievals

Alexandra Gossart1, Stephen P. Palm2,3, Niels Souverijns1, Jan T. M. Lenaerts4, Irina V. Gorodetskaya5, Stef Lhermitte6, and Nicole P. M. van Lipzig1 Alexandra Gossart et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • 2Science Systems and Applications, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 3NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 4Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder CO, USA
  • 5Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, Department of Physics, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
  • 6Department of Geosciences and Remote Sensing, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands

Abstract. Continuous measurements of blowing snow are scarce, both in time and space. Satellites now provide the opportunity to derive blowing snow occurrences, transport and sublimation rates over Antarctica. However, little ground truth is available to validate these retrievals. The recent application of ceilometers for detection of blowing snow frequencies provides an opportunity to validate the satellite retrievals of blowing snow frequencies at the Princess Elisabeth and Neumayer stations, East Antarctica for the 2011–2016 time period. A routine to detect blowing snow occurrence from remote sensing ceilometers has been developed at those locations. Thanks to their ground-based location, ceilometers are able to detect blowing snow events in the presence of clouds and precipitation, which can be missed by the satellite, since optically thick clouds impede the penetration of the signal. This is important, since ≈ 90 % of blowing snow happens under cloudy conditions at Neumayer and Princess Elisabeth station and represent 30 % of all cloudy conditions at both stations. Although both detection methods have their limitations, 10 % (4 %) of the measurements at Princess Elisabeth (and Neumayer) are identified as blowing snow by the satellite but not by the ceilometer, likely due to differences in sensors, limitation of the surface identification by the satellite, or the spatial inhomogeneity of the blowing snow event. While the satellite blowing snow retrieval is a useful product, further investigation is needed to reduce the uncertainties on blowing snow frequencies associated with clouds.

Alexandra Gossart et al.

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Alexandra Gossart et al.

Alexandra Gossart et al.


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Short summary
Blowing snow measurements are scarce, both in time and space over the Antarctic ice sheet. We compare here CALIPSO satellite blowing snow measurements, to ground-base remote sensing ceilometer retrievals at two coastal stations in East Antarctica. Results indicate that 95 % of the blowing snow occurs under cloudy conditions, and are missed by the satellite. In addition, difficulties arise if comparing point locations to satellite overpasses.