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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-78
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-78
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 May 2019

Research article | 07 May 2019

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

Measurement of specific surface area of fresh solid precipitation particles in heavy snowfall regions of Japan

Satoru Yamaguchi1, Masaaki Ishizaka1, Hiroki Motoyoshi1, Sent Nakai1, Vionnet Vincent2,3, Teruo Aoki4, Katsuya Yamashita1, Akihiro Hashimoto5, and Akihiro Hachikubo6 Satoru Yamaguchi et al.
  • 1Snow and Ice Research Center, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience, Nagaoka, 940-0821, Japan
  • 2Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, CNRM, Centre d'Etudes de la Neige, Grenoble, France
  • 3Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
  • 4Arctic Environment Research Center, National Institute of Polar Research, Japan
  • 5Meteorological Research Institute, Japan Meteorological Agency, Tsukuba, Japan
  • 6School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Kitami Institute of Technology, Kitami, 090-8507, Japan

Abstract. In countries such as Japan, particular solid precipitation particles (PP) like unrimed PP and graupel sometimes form a weak layer in snow that subsequently triggers slab avalanches. It is therefore essential for avalanche prevention authorities to design a predictive model for slab avalanches triggered by weak PP layers. The specific surface area (SSA) is a parameter that could characterize the physical properties of PP. The SSAs of solid PP were measured for four winters (from 2013/2014–2016/2017) in Nagaoka, one of the heaviest snowfall-experiencing cities in Japan. More than 100 SSAs of PP were measured during the study period using the gas absorption method. The measured SSA values range from 42 to 153 m2 kg−1. PP under the melting condition show smaller values than that without melting. Unrimed and slightly rimed PP exhibited low SSA, whereas heavily rimed PP and graupel exhibited high SSA. The degree of riming depends on the synoptic meteorological conditions. Based on the potential of weak PP layer formation with respect to the degree of riming of PP, the results indicate that SSA is a useful parameter for describing the characteristics of PP to predict avalanches triggered by weak PP layers. The study found that the values of SSA strongly depend on wind speed (WS) and wet-bulb temperature (Tw) on the ground. SSA increases with increase in WS, and decreases with increase in Tw. Using WS and Tw, an equation to empirically estimate the SSA of fresh PP in Nagaoka was established. The equation successfully reproduced the fluctuation of SSA. The SSA equation, with the meteorological data, is an efficient first step toward describing the development of weak PP layers in the snow cover models.

Satoru Yamaguchi et al.
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Satoru Yamaguchi et al.
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Latest update: 18 Jul 2019
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Short summary
The specific surface area (SSA) of solid precipitation particles (PP) includes detailed information of PP. This work is based on field measurement of SSA of PP in Nagaoka, the heaviest snowfall-experiencing city in Japan. The values of SSA strongly depend on wind speed (WS) and wet-bulb temperature (Tw) on the ground. An equation to empirically estimate the SSA of fresh PP with WS and Tw was established and the equation successfully reproduced the fluctuation of SSA in Nagaoka.
The specific surface area (SSA) of solid precipitation particles (PP) includes detailed...
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