Sensitivity of the surface energy budget to drifting snow as simulated by MAR in coastal Adelie Land, Antarctica

Le Toumelin, Louis; Amory, Charles; Favier, Vincent; Kittel, Christoph; Hofer, Stefan; Fettweis, Xavier; Gallée, Hubert; Kayetha, Vinay

In order to understand the evolution of the climate of Antarctica, dominant processes that control surface and low-atmosphere meteorology need to be accurately captured in climate models. We used the regional climate model MAR (v3.11) at 10 km horizontal resolution, forced by ERA5 reanalysis over a 9-year period (2010–2018) to study the impact of drifting snow (designating here the wind-driven transport of snow particles below and above 2 m) on the near-surface atmosphere and surface in Adelie Land, East Antarctica. Two model runs were performed, one with and one without drifting snow, and compared to half-hourly in situ observations at D17, a coastal and windy location of Adelie Land. We show that sublimation of drifting-snow particles in the atmosphere drives the difference between model runs and is responsible for significant impacts on the near-surface atmosphere. By cooling the low atmosphere and increasing its relative humidity, drifting snow also reduces sensible and latent heat exchanges at the surface (inline-formula−5.7 W minline-formula−2 on average). Moreover, large and dense drifting-snow layers act as near-surface cloud by interacting with incoming radiative fluxes, enhancing incoming longwave radiation and reducing incoming shortwave radiation in summer (net radiative forcing: 5.7 W minline-formula−2). Even if drifting snow modifies these processes involved in surface–atmosphere interactions, the total surface energy budget is only slightly modified by introducing drifting snow because of compensating effects in surface energy fluxes. The drifting-snow driven effects are not prominent near the surface but peak higher in the boundary layer (fourth vertical level, 12 m) where drifting-snow sublimation is the most pronounced. Accounting for drifting snow in MAR generally improves the comparison at D17, especially for the representation of relative humidity (mean bias reduced from inline-formula−14.0 % to inline-formula−0.7 %) and incoming longwave radiation (mean bias reduced from inline-formula−20.4 W minline-formula−2 to inline-formula−14.9 W minline-formula−2). Consequently, our results suggest that a detailed representation of drifting-snow processes is required in climate models to better capture the near-surface meteorology and surface–atmosphere interactions in coastal Adelie Land.



Le Toumelin, Louis / Amory, Charles / Favier, Vincent / et al: Sensitivity of the surface energy budget to drifting snow as simulated by MAR in coastal Adelie Land, Antarctica. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


12 Monate:

Grafik öffnen


Rechteinhaber: Louis Le Toumelin et al.

Nutzung und Vervielfältigung: