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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-2020-46
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-46
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 03 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 03 Mar 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Dry-Air Entrainment and Advection during Alpine Blowing Snow Events

Nikolas Olson Aksamit1,a and John Pomeroy1 Nikolas Olson Aksamit and John Pomeroy
  • 1Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
  • acurrently at: Institute for Mechanical Systems, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Abstract. Blowing snow transport has considerable impact on the hydrological cycle in alpine regions both through the redistribution of the seasonal snowpack and through sublimation back into the atmosphere. Alpine energy and mass balances are typically modelled with time-averaged approximations of sensible and latent heat fluxes. This oversimplifies non-stationary turbulent mixing in complex terrain and may overlook important exchange processes for hydrometeorological prediction. To determine if warm and dry air advection during blowing snow events from atmospheric sweep and ejection motions can provide such exchange mechanisms, they were investigated at an alpine site in the Canadian Rockies and found to supply substantial sensible heat to blowing snow flows. These motions were responsible for temperature fluctuations of up to 1 °C, a considerable change for energy balance estimation. A simple scaling relation was derived that related the frequency of turbulent sweeps and ejections to the event magnitude. This allows the first parameterization of entrained or advected energy for time-averaged representations of blowing snow sublimation and suggests that advection can strongly reduce thermodynamic feedbacks between blowing snow sublimation and the near-surface atmosphere. The recurrence model modeled described provides a significant step towards a more physically-based blowing snow sublimation model. Additionally, calculations of return frequencies and event durations provide a field-measurement context for recent findings of non-stationarity impacts on sublimation rates.

Nikolas Olson Aksamit and John Pomeroy

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Nikolas Olson Aksamit and John Pomeroy

Nikolas Olson Aksamit and John Pomeroy

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Latest update: 13 Jul 2020
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Short summary
In cold regions, it is increasingly important to quantify the amount of water stored as snow at the end of winter. Current models are inconsistent in their estimates of snow sublimation due to atmospheric turbulence. Specific wind structures have been identified that amplify potential rates of surface and blowing snow sublimation during blowing snow storms. The recurrence of these motions has been modeled by a simple scaling argument that has its foundation in turbulent boundary layer theory.
In cold regions, it is increasingly important to quantify the amount of water stored as snow at...
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