Time-Lapse Micro-Tomography Measurements and Determination of Effective Transport Properties of Snow Metamorphism Under Advective Conditions

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Pirmin Philipp Ebner1,2, Sascha Grimm1, Hans Christian Steen-Larsen3, Martin Schneebeli1 and Aldo Steinfeld2,4, (1)WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos Dorf, Switzerland, (2)ETH Zurich, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, Zurich, Switzerland, (3)LSCE Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, Gif-Sur-Yvette Cedex, France, (4)Paul Scherrer Institute, Solar Technology Laboratory, Villigen, Switzerland
The metamorphism of snow under advective air flow, with and without temperature gradient, was never experimentally investigated. We developed a new sample holder where metamorphism under advective conditions can be observed and measured using time-lapse micro-tomography [1]. Long-term experiments were performed and direct pore-level simulation (DPLS) [2,3] was directly applied on the extracted 3D digital geometry of the snow to calculate the effective transport properties by solving the governing fluid flow equations. The results showed no effect of isothermal advection, compared to rates typical for isothermal metamorphism. Appling a temperature gradient, the results showed increased snow metamorphism compared to rates typical for temperature gradient metamorphism. However, for both cases a change in the isotopic composition in the air as well as in the snow sample could be observed. These measurements could be influential to better understand snow-air exchange processes relevant for atmospheric chemistry and isotopic composition.


[1] Ebner P. P., Grimm S., Schneebeli M., and Steinfeld A.: An instrumented sample holder for time-lapse micro-tomography measurements of snow under advective airflow. Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems 4(2014), 353–373.

[2] Zermatten E., Haussener S., Schneebeli M., and Steinfeld A.: Tomography-based determination of permeability and Dupuit-Forchheimer coefficient of characteristic snow samples. Journal of Glaciology 57(2011), 811–816.

[3] Zermatten E., Schneebeli M., Arakawa H., and Steinfeld A.: Tomography-based determination of porosity, specific area and permeability of snow and comparison with measurements. Cold Regions Science and Technology 97 (2014), 33–40.

Fig. 1: 3-D surface rendering of a refrozen wet snow sample with fluid flow streamline.