Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-255
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-255

  25 Aug 2021

25 Aug 2021

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

On the energy budget of a low-Arctic snowpack

Georg Lackner1,2,3,4, Florent Dominé2,3,5, Daniel F. Nadeau1,4, Annie-Claude Parent1, François Anctil1,4, Matthieu Lafaysse6, and Marie Dumont6 Georg Lackner et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Water Engineering, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  • 2Takuvik Joint International Laboratory, Université Laval (Canada) and CNRS-INSU (France), Québec, Canada
  • 3Centre d’Études Nordiques, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  • 4CentrEau, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  • 6Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, CNRM, Centre d’Études de la Neige, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 5Departement of Chemistry, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

Abstract. Arctic landscapes are covered in snow for at least six months of the year. The energy balance of the snow cover plays a key role in these environments, influencing the surface albedo, the thermal regime of the permafrost, and other factors. Our goal is to quantify all major heat fluxes above, within, and below a low Arctic snowpack at a shrub tundra site on the east coast of Hudson Bay in eastern Canada. The study is based on observations from a flux tower that uses the eddy covariance approach and from profiles of temperature and thermal conductivity in the snow and soil. Additionally, we compared the observations with simulations produced using the Crocus snow model. We found that radiative losses due to negative longwave radiation are mostly counterbalanced by the sensible heat flux, whereas the latent heat flux is minimal. At the snow surface, the heat flux into the snow is similar in magnitude to the sensible heat flux. Because the snow cover stores very little heat, the majority of the heat flux into the snow is used to cool the soil. Overall, the model was able to reproduce the observed energy balance, but due to the effects of atmospheric stratification, showed some deficiencies when simulating turbulent heat fluxes at an hourly time scale.

Georg Lackner et al.

Status: open (until 20 Oct 2021)

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Georg Lackner et al.

Georg Lackner et al.

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Short summary
The surface energy budget is the sum of all incoming and outgoing energy fluxes at the Earth's surface and has a key role in the climate. We measured all these fluxes for an Arctic snowpack and found that most incoming energy from radiation is counterbalanced by thermal radiation and heat convection while sublimation was negligible. Overall, the snow model Crocus was able to simulate the observed energy fluxes well.