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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-51
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-51
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Jun 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Jun 2019

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

Surface energy fluxes on Chilean glaciers: measurements and models

Marius Schaefer1, Duilio Fonseca1, David Farias-Barahona2, and Gino Casassa3,4 Marius Schaefer et al.
  • 1Instituto de Ciencias Física y Matemáticas, Facultad de Ciencias, Austral University, Valdivia, Chile
  • 2Institute of Geography, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
  • 3Dirección General de Aguas, Ministerio de Obras Públicas, Santiago, Chile
  • 4Universidad de Magallanes, Punta Arenas, Chile

Abstract. The surface energy fluxes of glaciers determine surface melt and their adequate parameterization is one of the keys for a successful prediction of future glacier mass balance and freshwater discharge. Chile hosts glaciers in a large range of latitudes under contrasting climatic settings: from 18° S in the Atacama Desert to 55° S on Tierra del Fuego Island. We found the Patagonian glaciers to experience higher surface melt rates as compared to the glaciers of the Central Andes due to a higher contribution of the turbulent flux of sensible heat, less negative longwave radiation balance and a positive contribution of the turbulent flux of latent heat. Glaciers in the Central Andes melt at higher rates at cloud-free conditions whilst glaciers in Patagonia melt faster on cloudy days. The models underestimated the measured emissivity of the clearsky atmosphere in the Wet Andes. The different parameterizations of the turbulent fluxes of sensible and latent heat show similar variability but different absolute values due to different parameterizations of the transport coefficients and stability corrections. We conclude that when working towards physical melt models it is not sufficient to use the observed melt as a measure of model performance: the model parameterizations of individual components of the energy balance have to be validated individually against measurements.

Marius Schaefer et al.
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Marius Schaefer et al.
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Short summary
Chile is hosting glaciers in a large range of latitudes and climates. To project future ice extend, a sound quantification of the energy exchange between atmosphere and glaciers is needed. We present new data for six Chilean glaciers belonging to three glaciological zones. In the Central Andes, the main energy source for glacier melt is the incoming solar radiation, while in Southern Patagonia heat provided by the mild and humid air is also important. Total melt rates are higher in Patagonia.
Chile is hosting glaciers in a large range of latitudes and climates. To project future ice...
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