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The Cryosphere (TC)
Article . 2017 . Peer-reviewed
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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-201...
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The Cryosphere (TC)
Article . Preprint
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Effects of snow grain shape on climate simulations: Sensitivity tests with the Norwegian Earth System Model

Authors: Petri Räisänen; Risto Makkonen; Alf Kirkevåg; Jens Boldingh Debernard;

Effects of snow grain shape on climate simulations: Sensitivity tests with the Norwegian Earth System Model

Abstract

Abstract. Snow consists of non-spherical grains of various shapes and sizes. Still, in radiative transfer calculations, snow grains are often treated as spherical. This also applies to the computation of snow albedo in the Snow, Ice, and Aerosol Radiation (SNICAR) model and in the Los Alamos sea ice model, version 4 (CICE4), both of which are employed in the Community Earth System Model and in the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM). In this study, we evaluate the effect of snow grain shape on climate simulated by NorESM in a slab ocean configuration of the model. An experiment with spherical snow grains (SPH) is compared with another (NONSPH) in which the snow shortwave single-scattering properties are based on a combination of three non-spherical snow grain shapes optimized using measurements of angular scattering by blowing snow. The key difference between these treatments is that the asymmetry parameter is smaller in the non-spherical case (0.77–0.78 in the visible region) than in the spherical case ( ≈ 0.89). Therefore, for the same effective snow grain size (or equivalently, the same specific projected area), the snow broadband albedo is higher when assuming non-spherical rather than spherical snow grains, typically by 0.02–0.03. Considering the spherical case as the baseline, this results in an instantaneous negative change in net shortwave radiation with a global-mean top-of-the-model value of ca. −0.22 W m−2. Although this global-mean radiative effect is rather modest, the impacts on the climate simulated by NorESM are substantial. The global annual-mean 2 m air temperature in NONSPH is 1.17 K lower than in SPH, with substantially larger differences at high latitudes. The climatic response is amplified by strong snow and sea ice feedbacks. It is further demonstrated that the effect of snow grain shape could be largely offset by adjusting the snow grain size. When assuming non-spherical snow grains with the parameterized grain size increased by ca. 70 %, the climatic differences to the SPH experiment become very small. Finally, the impact of assumed snow grain shape on the radiative effects of absorbing aerosols in snow is discussed.

Country
Finland
Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Atmospheric sciences Sea ice Radiative transfer Shortwave radiation Blowing snow geography geography.geographical_feature_category Snow grains Albedo Snow Climatology Environmental science Shortwave

Library of Congress Subject Headings: lcsh:Environmental sciences lcsh:GE1-350 lcsh:QE1-996.5 lcsh:Geology

Keywords

ARCTIC SNOW, DATA RECORD, BIDIRECTIONAL REFLECTANCE, SURFACE-AREA, 114 Physical sciences, Earth-Surface Processes, Water Science and Technology, SOLAR LIGHT, ANTARCTIC SNOW, SPECTRAL ALBEDO, BLACK CARBON, MULTIPLE-SCATTERING, SEA-ICE

  • BIP!
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    citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    21
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Top 10%
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Top 10%
  • citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    21
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Top 10%
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Top 10%
    Powered byBIP!BIP!
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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
21
Top 10%
Average
Top 10%
gold
Funded by
EC| ACCESS
Project
ACCESS
Arctic Climate Change, Economy and Society
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 265863
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP1 | TPT
,
AKA| Novel Assessment of Black Carbon in the Eurasian Arctic: From Historical Concentrations and Sources to Future Climate Impacts (NABCEA)  / Consortium: NABCEA, EC| PEGASOS
Project
PEGASOS
Pan-European Gas-AeroSol-climate interaction Study
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 265148
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP1 | ENV
sysimport:actionset
Related to Research communities
Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Greece
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