Fox, A.M. and Willis I.C. and Arnold N.S. (2008)
Modification and testing of a one-dimensional energy and mass balance model for supraglacial snowpacks
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- Hydrological Processes
- A one-dimensional energy and mass balance snow model (SNTHERM) has been modified for use with supraglacial snowpacks and applied to a point on Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland. It has been adapted to incorporate the underlying glacier ice and a site-specific, empirically derived albedo routine. Model performance was tested against continuous measurements of snow depth and meltwater outflow from the base of the snowpack, and intermittent measurements of surface albedo and snowpack density profiles collected during the 1993 and 2000 melt seasons. Snow and ice ablation was simulated accurately. The timing of the daily pattern of meltwater outflow was well reproduced, although magnitudes were generally underestimated, possibly indicating preferential flow into the snowpack lysimeter. The model was used to assess the quantity of meltwater stored temporally within the unsaturated snowpack and meltwater percolation rates, which were found to be in agreement with dye tracer experiments undertaken on this glacier. As with other energy balance studies on alpine valley glaciers, the energy available for melt was dominated by net radiation (64%), with a sizable contribution from sensible heat flux (36%) and with a negligible latent heat flux overall, although there was more complex temporal variation on diurnal timescales. A basic sensitivity analysis indicated that melt rates were most sensitive to radiation, air temperature and snowpack density, indicating the need to accurately extrapolate/interpolate these variables when developing a spatially distributed framework for this model.