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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-186
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-186
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 17 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 17 Sep 2019

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

Spatial and temporal variations in glacier surface roughness during melting season, as observed at August-one glacier, Qilian mountains, China

Junfeng Liu, Rensheng Chen, and Chuntan Han Junfeng Liu et al.
  • Qilian Alpine Ecology and Hydrology Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China

Abstract. The roughness of glacier surfaces is an important factor governing surface albedo and turbulent heat transfer. Previous studies have not directly observed spatial and temporal variation in surface roughness (z0) over a whole glacier and whole melting season. Such observations can do much to help us understand variation in z0 and thus variations in albedo and turbulent heat transfer. This study, at the August-one ice cap in the Qilian mountains, collected three-dimensional ice surface data at plot-scale, using both automatic and manual close-range digital photogrammetry. Data was collected from sampling sites spanning the whole glacier for the whole of the melting season. The automatic site collected daily photogrammetric measurements from July to September of 2018 for a plot near the center of the ice cap; during this time, snow cover gave place to ice and then returned to snow. Z0 was calculated from this data. Manual measurements were taken at sites dotted from terminal to top; they showed that z0 was larger at the snow and ice transition zone than in areas fully snow or ice covered. This zone moved up the ice cap during the melting season. It is clear that persistent snowfall and rainfall both reduce z0. Using data from a meteorological station near the automatic photogrammetry site, we were able to calculate surface energy balances over the course of the melting season. We found that high or rising turbulent heat as a component of surface energy balance tended to produce a smooth ice surface; low or decreasing turbulent heat tended to produce a rougher surface.

Junfeng Liu et al.
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Short summary
(a)glacier surface roughness during melting season was observed by manual and automatic photogrammetry. (b)surface roughness was larger at the snow and ice transition zone than in areas fully snow or ice covered area. (c)persistent snowfall and rainfall both reduce surface roughness. (d)high or rising turbulent heat as a component of surface energy balance tended to produce a smooth ice surface; low or decreasing turbulent heat tended to produce a rougher surface.
(a)glacier surface roughness during melting season was observed by manual and automatic...
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