Surface energy balance and boundary layer development during snowmelt

J. M. Baker, Kenneth James Davis, G. C. Liknes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Improved prediction of snowmelt requires comprehensive data collection, including surface, subsurface, and atmospheric processes, during the snowmelt period. We report results of field research in which all components of the surface energy balance were measured during two different snowmelt periods, along with boundary layer soundings. The two periods were quite different, the first being overcast and the second occurring under clear skies. However, snowmelt was estimated relatively well from the cumulative residual of the energy balance in both cases. Downward infrared radiation and sensible heat flux were important contributors to the melt during overcast conditions, with net radiation providing about two thirds of the energy for melt and sensible heat providing the remainder. The sunny melt was dominated by direct solar heating of the surface. In both cases, estimation of melt as a residual of the energy balance agreed well with visual and gravimetric observations. The boundary layer soundings revealed the importance of advection, which was generally consistent with synoptic patterns during the period of the study. The data also showed a transition from advection-dominated to turbulence-dominated boundary layer budgets as the snowpack disappeared. The potential for convective cloud formation was also examined. Surface heating and entrainment outweighed adiabatic cooling and evaporation, resulting in the boundary layer top relative humidity decreasing as the snow melted and turbulent mixing increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1999JD900224
Pages (from-to)19611-19621
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Volume104
Issue numberD16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 27 1999

Fingerprint

snowmelt
surface energy
Energy balance
Interfacial energy
energy balance
boundary layers
Boundary layers
boundary layer
melt
heat
cloud cover
Advection
sounding
advection
solar heating
infrared radiation
Solar heating
visual observation
turbulent mixing
convective cloud

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

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title = "Surface energy balance and boundary layer development during snowmelt",
abstract = "Improved prediction of snowmelt requires comprehensive data collection, including surface, subsurface, and atmospheric processes, during the snowmelt period. We report results of field research in which all components of the surface energy balance were measured during two different snowmelt periods, along with boundary layer soundings. The two periods were quite different, the first being overcast and the second occurring under clear skies. However, snowmelt was estimated relatively well from the cumulative residual of the energy balance in both cases. Downward infrared radiation and sensible heat flux were important contributors to the melt during overcast conditions, with net radiation providing about two thirds of the energy for melt and sensible heat providing the remainder. The sunny melt was dominated by direct solar heating of the surface. In both cases, estimation of melt as a residual of the energy balance agreed well with visual and gravimetric observations. The boundary layer soundings revealed the importance of advection, which was generally consistent with synoptic patterns during the period of the study. The data also showed a transition from advection-dominated to turbulence-dominated boundary layer budgets as the snowpack disappeared. The potential for convective cloud formation was also examined. Surface heating and entrainment outweighed adiabatic cooling and evaporation, resulting in the boundary layer top relative humidity decreasing as the snow melted and turbulent mixing increased.",
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Surface energy balance and boundary layer development during snowmelt. / Baker, J. M.; Davis, Kenneth James; Liknes, G. C.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, Vol. 104, No. D16, 1999JD900224, 27.08.1999, p. 19611-19621.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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