Modeling experiments on seasonal lake ice mass and energy balance in the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau: a case study

Huang, Wenfeng; Cheng, Bin; Zhang, Jinrong; Zhang, Zheng; Vihma, Timo; Li, Zhijun; Niu, Fujun

The lake-rich Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (QTP) has significant impacts on regional and global water cycles and monsoon systems through heat and water vapor exchange. The lake–atmosphere interactions have been quantified over open-water periods, yet little is known about the lake ice thermodynamics and heat and mass balance during the ice-covered season due to a lack of field data. In this study, a high-resolution thermodynamic ice model was applied in experiments of lake ice evolution and energy balance of a shallow lake in the QTP. Basal growth and melt dominated the seasonal evolution of lake ice, but surface sublimation was also crucial for ice loss, accounting for up to 40 % of the maximum ice thickness. Sublimation was also responsible for 41 % of the lake water loss during the ice-covered period. Simulation results matched the observations well with respect to ice mass balance components, ice thickness, and ice temperature. Strong solar radiation, negative air temperature, low air moisture, and prevailing strong winds were the major driving forces controlling the seasonal ice mass balance. The energy balance was estimated at the ice surface and bottom, and within the ice interior and under-ice water. Particularly, almost all heat fluxes showed significant diurnal variations including incoming, absorbed, and penetrated solar radiation, long-wave radiation, turbulent air–ice heat fluxes, and basal ice–water heat fluxes. The calculated ice surface temperature indicated that the atmospheric boundary layer stratification was consistently stable or neutral throughout the ice-covered period. The turbulent air–ice heat fluxes and the net heat gain by the lake were much lower than those during the open-water period.

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Huang, Wenfeng / Cheng, Bin / Zhang, Jinrong / et al: Modeling experiments on seasonal lake ice mass and energy balance in the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau: a case study. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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