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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.

  21 Apr 2020

21 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Small scale spatial variability of bare-ice albedo at Jamtalferner, Austria

Lea Hartl1, Lucia Felbauer1, Gabriele Schwaizer2, and Andrea Fischer1 Lea Hartl et al.
  • 1Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Reasearch, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Technikerstraße, 21a, ICT, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2ENVEO GmbH, Fürstenweg 176, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract. As Alpine glaciers recede, they are quickly becoming snow free in summer and, accordingly, spatial and temporal variations in ice albedo increasingly affect the melt regime. To accurately model future developments, such as deglaciation patterns, it is important to understand the processes governing broadband and spectral albedo at a local scale. However, little in situ data of ice albedo exits. As a contribution to this knowledge gap, we present spectral reflectance data from 325 to 1075 nm collected along several profile lines in the ablation zone of Jamtalferner, Austria. Measurements were timed to closely coincide with a Sentinel 2 and Landsat 8 overpass and are compared to the respective ground reflectance products. The brightest spectra have a maximum reflectance of up to 0.7 and consist of clean, dry ice. In contrast, reflectance does not exceed 0.2 at dark spectra where liquid water and/or fine grained debris are present. Spectra can roughly be grouped into dry ice, wet ice, and dirt/rocks, although transitions between types are fluid. Neither satellite captures the full range of in situ reflectance values. The difference between ground and satellite data is not uniform across satellite bands, between Landsat and Sentinel, and to some extent between ice surface types (underestimation of reflectance for bright surfaces, overestimation for dark surfaces). We wish to highlight the need for further, systematic measurements of in situ spectral albedo, its variability in time and space, and in- depth analysis of time-synchronous satellite data.

Lea Hartl et al.

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Lea Hartl et al.

Lea Hartl et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Alpine glaciers are shrinking and becoming snow free in summer. The exposed ice surface is darker than snow and absorbs more radiation, which increases ice melt. We measure how much radiation is reflected at different wavelengths in the ablation zone of Jamtalferner, Austria, and find large variations between different parts of the glacier. Clean ice reflects more incoming radiation than dirty or wet ice. Satellite data capture only some of the variability on the ground.
Alpine glaciers are shrinking and becoming snow free in summer. The exposed ice surface is...