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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
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Research article 10 Sep 2018

Research article | 10 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Variability in individual particle structure and mixing states between the glacier snowpack and atmosphere interface in the northeast Tibetan Plateau

Zhiwen Dong1,2, Shichang Kang1,3, Yaping Shao2, Sven Ulbrich2, and Dahe Qin1 Zhiwen Dong et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Cryosphere Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 2Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology, University of Cologne, Cologne D-50923, Germany
  • 3CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plat eau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Abstract. Aerosol impurities affect the earth's temperature and climate by altering the radiative properties of the atmosphere. Changes in the composition, morphology structure and mixing states of aerosol components will cause significantly varied radiative forcing in the atmosphere. This work focused on the physicochemical properties of light-absorbing impurities (LAIs) and their variability through deposition from the atmosphere to the glacier/snowpack surface interface based on large-range observation in northeastern Tibetan Plateau and laboratory transmission electron microscope (TEM) and laboratory energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX) measurements. The results showed that LAI particle structures changed markedly in the snowpack compared to those in the atmosphere due to black carbon (BC)/organic matter (OM) particle aging and salt-coating condition changes. Considerably more aged BC and OM particles were observed in glacier/snowpack surfaces than in the atmosphere, as the proportion of aged BC and OM varied in all locations by 4%–16% and 12%–25% in the atmosphere, respectively, whereas they varied by 25%–36% and 36%–48%, respectively, in the glacier/snowpack surface. Similarly, the salt-coated particle ratio of LAIs in the snowpack is lower than in the atmosphere. Albedo change contribution in the Miaoergou, Yuzhufeng and Qiyi Glaciers is evaluated using the SNICAR model for glacier surface distributed impurities. Due to salt-coating state change, these values decreased by 30.1%–56.4% compared to that in the atmosphere. Such great change may cause more strongly enhanced radiative heating than previously thought, suggesting that the warming effect from particle structure and mixing change of glacier/snowpack LAIs may have markedly affected the climate on a global scale in terms of direct forcing in the cryosphere.

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Zhiwen Dong et al.
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Short summary
This study aimed to provide a first and unique record of the individual particle's physicochemical properties and mixing states of LAIs between the glacier and atmosphere interface over the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, to determine the individual LAIs particle's structure aging and mixing state changes through the atmospheric deposition process from atmosphere to glacier/snowpack surface, thereby helping to characterize the LAIs' radiative forcing and climate effects in the cryosphere region.
This study aimed to provide a first and unique record of the individual particle's...