07 Apr 2021

07 Apr 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

On the performance of the snow model Crocus driven by in situ and reanalysis data at Villum Research Station in northeast Greenland

Daniela Krampe1, Frank Kauker1,2, Marie Dumont3, and Andreas Herber1 Daniela Krampe et al.
  • 1Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Ocean Atmosphere Systems GmbH, Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, CNRM, Centre d’Études de la Neige, 38000 Grenoble, France

Abstract. Reliable and detailed snow data are limited in the Arctic. We aim at overcoming this issue by addressing two questions: (1) Can the reanalysis ERA5 replace limited in situ measurements in high latitudes to drive snow models? (2) Can the Alpine model Crocus simulate reliably Arctic snow depth and stratigraphy? We compare atmospheric in situ measurements and ERA5 reanalysis and evaluate simulated and measured snow depth, density and specific surface area (SSA) in northeast Greenland (October 2014–October 2018). To account for differences between Alpine and Arctic region, we introduce a new parametrisation for the density of new snow.

Our results show a good agreement between in situ and ERA5 atmospheric variables except for precipitation, wind speed and direction. ERA5’s resolution is too coarse to resolve the topography in the study area adequately, leading presumably to the detected biases. Nevertheless, measured snow depth agrees better with ERA5 forced simulations than forced with in situ measurements.

Crocus can simulate satisfactory the evolution of snow depth, but simulations of SSA and density profiles for both forcings are biased compared to field measurements. Adjusting the new snow density parametrisation leads to improvements in the simulated snow stratigraphy. In conclusion, ERA5 can be used instead of in situ measurements to force snow models but the use of Crocus in the Arctic is affected by limitations likely due to the missing vertical water vapour transport and snow redistribution during strong winds. These limitations strongly affect the accuracy of the vertical profiles of physical snow properties.

Daniela Krampe et al.

Status: open (until 02 Jun 2021)

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Daniela Krampe et al.

Daniela Krampe et al.


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Short summary
Reliable and detailed Arctic snow data are limited. Evaluation of the performance of atmospheric reanalysis compared to measurements in northeast Greenland generally show good agreement. Both data sets are applied to an Alpine snow model and the performance for Arctic conditions is investigated: Simulated snow depth evolution is reliable, but vertical snow profiles show weaknesses. These are smaller with an adapted parametrisation for the density of newly fallen snow for harsh Arctic conditions.