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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Mar 2019

Research article | 21 Mar 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Motion of dust particles in dry snow under temperature gradient metamorphism

Pascal Hagenmuller1, Frederic Flin1, Marie Dumont1, François Tuzet1, Isabel Peinke1, Philippe Lapalus1, Anne Dufour1, Jacques Roulle1, Laurent Pézard1, Didier Voisin2, Edward Ando3, Sabine Rolland du Roscoat3, and Pascal Charrier3 Pascal Hagenmuller et al.
  • 1Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, CNRM, Centre d’Études de la Neige, 38000Grenoble, France
  • 2Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble INP, IGE, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 3Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble INP, 3SR, 38000 Grenoble, France

Abstract. The deposition of light-absorbing particles (LAPs) such as mineral dust and black carbon on snow is responsible for a highly effective climate forcing, through darkening of the snow surface and associated feedbacks. The interplay between post-depositional snow transformation (metamorphism) and the dynamics of LAPs in snow remains largely unknown. We obtained time series of X-ray tomography images of dust-contaminated snow exposed to various metamorphic conditions. They provide the first observational evidence that temperature gradient metamorphism induces dust particle motion in snow, while no movement is observed under isothermal conditions. Under temperature gradient metamorphism, dust particles can enter the ice matrix due to sublimation-condensation processes and spread down mainly by falling into the pore space. Overall, such motions might reduce the radiative impact of dust in snow, in particular in the Arctic where temperature gradient metamorphism prevails.

Pascal Hagenmuller et al.
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Pascal Hagenmuller et al.
Pascal Hagenmuller et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Light-absorbing particles (LAPs, e.g. dust or black carbon) in snow are a potent climate forcing agent. Their presence darkens the snow surface and leads to higher solar energy absorption. Several studies have quantified this radiative impact by assuming that LAPs were motionless in dry snow, without any clear evidence of this assumption. Using time-lapse X-ray tomography, we show that temperature-gradient metamorphism of snow induces downward motion of LAPs, leading to self-cleaning of snow.
Light-absorbing particles (LAPs, e.g. dust or black carbon) in snow are a potent climate forcing...