Dadic, R. and Mott, R. and Lehning, M. and Burlando, P. (2010)
Wind influence on snow depth distribution and accumulation over glacier
- Cite key
- Journal of Geophysical Research
- In mountain regions wind is known to cause snow redistribution. While physically based models of snow redistribution have been developed for flat to gently rolling terrain, extension of these findings to steep terrain has been limited by the complexity of wind fields in such areas. In this study, we applied a nonhydrostatic and compressible atmospheric prediction model to steep alpine topography and compared the results to a fully distributed data set of snow depth estimations. The results show reduced horizontal wind velocity as well as an increasing downward vertical wind velocity over areas with the largest winter accumulation, which are mostly glacierized. We show that the wind velocity normal to the local surface, which should be zero in a nondivergent flow field and is a direct measure of increased or decreased local deposition, is a function of small-scale features of local topography. The correlation between wind fields, snow accumulation, and glacierization suggests that accurate modeling of wind fields over glacierized areas in complex terrain is a key factor for understanding the mass balance distribution of glaciers.