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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
26 Feb 2015
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
Soot on snow experiments: light-absorbing impurities effect on the natural snowpack
J. Svensson1,2, A. Virkkula1,3,4, O. Meinander1, N. Kivekäs1,5, H.-R. Hannula6, O. Järvinen4, J. I. Peltoniemi4,7, M. Gritsevich4,7,8, A. Heikkilä1, A. Kontu6, A.-P. Hyvärinen1, K. Neitola1, D. Brus1, P. Dagsson-Waldhauserova9,10, K. Anttila1,7, T. Hakala7, H. Kaartinen7, M. Vehkamäki11, G. de Leeuw1,4, and H. Lihavainen1 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
2Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Institute for Climate and Global Change and School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
4Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
5Department of Physics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
6Arctic Research Center, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Sodankylä, Finland
7Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, Masala, Finland
8Institute of Physics and Technology, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia
9Faculty of Environment, Agricultural University of Iceland, Hvanneyri, Iceland
10Department of Physics, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
11Department of Chemistry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Abstract. Light-absorbing impurities affect snow and ice via a decrease in albedo and a consequent disturbance to the radiative energy balance. Experimentally, these matters have only been examined in a few studies. Here we present results from a series of experiments in which we deposited different soot concentrations onto natural snow in different regions of Finland, and thereafter monitored the changes of the snowpack through the melting season. Measurements of the particulates in the snow indicated concentrations in the range of thousands of ppb to have clear effects on the snow properties, including the albedo, the physical snow characteristics, and an increased melt rate. For soot concentrations in the hundreds of ppb range, the effects were not as clearly visible, and it was more difficult to attribute the effects solely to the soot on the snow. Comparisons between our experimental data and the widely used Snow, Ice and Aerosol Radiation (SNICAR) model showed a general agreement when the model was specifically tuned to our measurements. This study highlights the importance of additional experimental studies, to further articulate and quantify the effects of light-absorbing impurities on snow.

Citation: Svensson, J., Virkkula, A., Meinander, O., Kivekäs, N., Hannula, H.-R., Järvinen, O., Peltoniemi, J. I., Gritsevich, M., Heikkilä, A., Kontu, A., Hyvärinen, A.-P., Neitola, K., Brus, D., Dagsson-Waldhauserova, P., Anttila, K., Hakala, T., Kaartinen, H., Vehkamäki, M., de Leeuw, G., and Lihavainen, H.: Soot on snow experiments: light-absorbing impurities effect on the natural snowpack, The Cryosphere Discuss., 9, 1227-1267,, 2015.
J. Svensson et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version      Supplement - Supplement
RC C281: 'Review Svensson et al.', Anonymous Referee #1, 30 Mar 2015 Printer-friendly Version 
RC C685: 'Review Svensson et al, Soot on snow experiment', Anonymous Referee #2, 04 May 2015 Printer-friendly Version 
RC C796: 'Referee comment', Anonymous Referee #3, 18 May 2015 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
AC C1563: 'Author reply to referees', J. Svensson, 07 Sep 2015 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
J. Svensson et al.
J. Svensson et al.


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Short summary
Soot's (including black carbon and organics) negative effect on a natural snow pack is experimentally addressed in this paper through a series of experiments. Soot concentrations in the snow in the range of 200-200 000 ppb verify the negative effects on the albedo, the physical snow characteristics, as well as increasing the melt rate of the snow pack. Our experimental data generally agrees when compared with the Snow, Ice and Aerosol Radiation model.
Soot's (including black carbon and organics) negative effect on a natural snow pack is...