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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  07 Apr 2020

07 Apr 2020

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

Effects of surface roughness and light-absorbing impurities on glacier surface albedo, August-one ice cap, Qilian Mountains, China

Junfeng Liu1, Rensheng Chen1, Yongjian Ding1, Chuntan Han1, Yong Yang1, Zhangwen Liu1, Xiqiang Wang1, Shuhai Guo1, Yaoxuan Song1, and Wenwu Qing2 Junfeng Liu et al.
  • 1Qilian Alpine Ecology and Hydrology Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
  • 2Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China

Abstract. Surface albedo is the main influence on surface melt for Qilian mountain glaciers. Fluctuations in surface albedo are due primarily to variations in micro scale surface roughness (ξ) and light-absorbing impurities (LAIs) in this region. However, combined ξ and LAIs effects over glacier surface albedo are rarely studied and surface roughness rarely considered in the albedo parameterization methods in this region. The present study was conducted in tandem with an intensive photogrammetric survey of glacier surface roughness, LAIs samples and albedo observations along the main flow-line of August-one ice cap during the 2018 melt season. Automatic photogrammetry of surface roughness and automatic observation of glacier surface albedo was conducted at middle of the ice cap in 2018. Detailed analysis indicates a negative power function and positive linear relationship exist between ξ and albedo for snow and ice surface, respectively. ξ could explain 68% of snow surface albedo and 38 % of ice surface albedo variation in melt season. Effective LAIs concentration (Cξ) calculated by consider ξ effect over LAIs deposition account for more than 63 % of albedo variation at ice surface. Using either ξ or Cξ to estimate ice surface albedo would be a great improvement over some current parameterization methods, such as assuming a constant mean ice surface albedo. A finer resolution of above 50 mm and above 100 mm is recommended for ice and snow ξ calculations, which explain more albedo variation than coarse resolutions below it. With advances in topographic surveys to improve the resolution, extent and availability of topographic datasets and surface roughness, appropriate parameterizations of albedo based on ξ have exciting potential to be applied over large scale snow cover and glacier.

Junfeng Liu et al.

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Junfeng Liu et al.

Junfeng Liu et al.


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Latest update: 26 Nov 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
we try to investigate the spatial and temporal variability of albedo, micro scale surface roughness, and LAIs, with the objective to better understanding and simulating surface albedo variability over snow and dirty ice surface at the August-one ice cap in Qilian Mountain. Snow and ice surface albedo parameterization methods are established based on either surface roughness or both surface roughness and LAIs.
we try to investigate the spatial and temporal variability of albedo, micro scale surface...