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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-118
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-118
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 02 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 02 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Evaluation of a new snow albedo scheme for the Greenland ice sheet in the regional climate model RACMO2

Christiaan T. van Dalum1, Willem Jan van de Berg1, Stef Lhermitte2, and Michiel R. van den Broeke1 Christiaan T. van Dalum et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2Department of Geoscience&Remote Sensing, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands

Abstract. Snow and ice albedo schemes in present day climate models often lack a sophisticated radiation penetration scheme and do not explicitly include spectral albedo variations. In this study, we evaluate a new snow albedo scheme in the regional climate model RACMO2 for the Greenland ice sheet, version 2.3p3, that includes these processes. The new albedo scheme uses the two-stream radiative transfer in snow model TARTES and the spectral-to-narrowband albedo module SNOWBAL, version 1.2. Additionally, the bare ice albedo parameterization has been updated. The snow and ice broadband and narrowband albedo output of the updated version of RACMO2 is evaluated using PROMICE and K-transect in-situ data and MODIS remote-sensing observations. Generally, the modeled narrowband and broadband albedo is in very good agreement with satellite observations, leading to a negligible domain-averaged broadband albedo bias smaller than 0.001 for the interior. Some discrepancies are, however, observed close to the ice margin. Compared to the previous model version, RACMO2.3p2, the broadband albedo is considerably higher in the bare ice zone during the ablation season, as atmospheric conditions now alter the bare ice broadband albedo. For most other regions, however, the updated broadband albedo is lower due to spectral effects, radiation penetration or enhanced snow metamorphism.

Christiaan T. van Dalum et al.

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Data sets

RACMO2.3p3 monthly-accumulated shortwave radiation data for Greenland (September 2000 - 2018) C. van Dalum, W. J. van de Berg, and M. van den Broeke https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3763442

Christiaan T. van Dalum et al.

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Latest update: 04 Jul 2020
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Short summary
The reflectivity of sun light, which is also known as albedo, is often inadequately modeled in regional climate models. Therefore, we have implemented a new snow and ice albedo scheme in the regional climate model RACMO2. In this study, we evaluate a new RACMO2 version for the Greenland ice sheet by using observations and the previous model version. RACMO2 output compares well with observations and we improve the ability of RACMO2 to make future climate projections by including new processes.
The reflectivity of sun light, which is also known as albedo, is often inadequately modeled in...
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