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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-221
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-221
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Oct 2018

Research article | 19 Oct 2018

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

Quantifying the snowmelt-albedo feedback at Neumayer Station, East Antarctica

Constantijn L. Jakobs1, Carleen H. Reijmer1, Peter Kuipers Munneke1, Gert König-Langlo2, and Michiel R. van den Broeke1 Constantijn L. Jakobs et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany

Abstract. We quantify the snowmelt-albedo feedback at Neumayer Station, East Antarctica, using 24 years (1992–2016) of high-quality meteorological observations to force a surface energy balance model. The modelled 24-year cumulative surface melt at Neumayer amounts to 1060mm water equivalent (w.e.), with only a small uncertainty (±3mmw.e.) from random measurement errors. Results are more sensitive to the chosen value for the surface momentum roughness length and fresh snow density, yielding a range of 800–1140mmw.e. Melt at Neumayer occurs only in the months November to February, with a summer average of 46mmw.e. and large interannual variability (σ = 40mmw.e.). Absorbed shortwave radiation is the dominant driver of temporal melt variability at Neumayer. To assess the importance of the melt-albedo feedback we include and calibrate an albedo parameterisation in the surface energy balance model. We show that, without the snowmelt- albedo feedback, surface melt at Neumayer would be approximately three times weaker, demonstrating how important it is to correctly represent this feedback in model simulations of surface melt.

Constantijn L. Jakobs et al.
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Constantijn L. Jakobs et al.
Data sets

Basic and other measurements, and meteorological synoptical observations from Neumayer Station, 1992-04 to 2016-01, reference list of 572 datasets G. König-Langlo https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.874984

Constantijn L. Jakobs et al.
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Short summary
We use 24 years of observations at Neumayer Station, East Antarctica, to calculate the Surface Energy Balance and the associated surface melt, which we find to be mainly driven by the absorption of solar radiation. Meltwater can refreeze in the subsurface snow layers, thereby decreasing the surface albedo and hence allowing for more absorption of solar radiation. By implementing an albedo parameterisation, we show that this feedback accounts for a threefold increase of surface melt at Neumayer.
We use 24 years of observations at Neumayer Station, East Antarctica, to calculate the Surface...
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