The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 5255-5289, 2012
www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/6/5255/2012/
doi:10.5194/tcd-6-5255-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in TC.
Snow specific surface area simulation using the one-layer snow model in the Canadian LAnd Surface Scheme (CLASS)
A. Roy1, A. Royer1, B. Montpetit1, P. A. Bartlett2, and A. Langlois1
1Centre d'Applications et de Recherches en Télédétection (CARTEL), Université de Sherbrooke, 2500 boul. Université, Sherbrooke, QC, J1K 2R1, Canada
2Climate Processes Section, Environment Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada

Abstract. Snow grain size is a key parameter for modeling microwave snow emission properties and the surface energy balance because of its influence on the snow albedo, thermal conductivity and diffusivity. A model of the specific surface area (SSA) of snow was implemented in the one-layer snow model in the Canadian LAnd Surface Scheme (CLASS) version 3.4. This offline multilayer model (CLASS-SSA) simulates the decrease of SSA based on snow age, snow temperature and the temperature gradient under dry snow conditions, whereas it considers the liquid water content for wet snow metamorphism. We compare the model with ground-based measurements from several sites (alpine, Arctic and sub-Arctic) with different types of snow. The model provides simulated SSA in good agreement with measurements with an overall point-to-point comparison RMSE of 8.1 m2 kg−1, and a RMSE of 4.9 m2 kg−1 for the snowpack average SSA. The model, however, is limited under wet conditions due to the single-layer nature of the CLASS model, leading to a single liquid water content value for the whole snowpack. The SSA simulations are of great interest for satellite passive microwave brightness temperature assimilations, snow mass balance retrievals and surface energy balance calculations with associated climate feedbacks.

Citation: Roy, A., Royer, A., Montpetit, B., Bartlett, P. A., and Langlois, A.: Snow specific surface area simulation using the one-layer snow model in the Canadian LAnd Surface Scheme (CLASS), The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 5255-5289, doi:10.5194/tcd-6-5255-2012, 2012.
 
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