Evaluation of the SMAP model calculated snow albedo at the SIGMA-A site, northwest Greenland, during the 2012 record surface melt event

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Masashi Niwano1, Teruo Aoki2, Sumito Matoba3, Satoru Yamaguchi4, Tomonori Tanikawa5, Katsuyuki Kuchiki2 and Hideaki Motoyama6, (1)Meteorological Research Institute, Ibaraki, Japan, (2)Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan, (3)Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, (4)Snow and Ice Research Center, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention, Nagaoka, Japan, (5)JAXA, Tsukuba, Japan, (6)NIPR National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan
The snow and ice on the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) experienced the extreme surface melt around 12 July, 2012. In order to understand the snow-atmosphere interaction during the period, we applied a physical snowpack model SMAP to the GrIS snowpack. In the SMAP model, the snow albedo is calculated by the PBSAM component explicitly considering effects of snow grain size and light-absorbing snow impurities such as black carbon and dust. Temporal evolution of snow grain size is calculated internally in the SMAP model, whereas mass concentrations of snow impurities are externally given from observations. In the PBSAM, the (shortwave) snow albedo is calculated from a weighted summation of visible albedo (primarily affected by snow impurities) and near-infrared albedo (mainly controlled by snow grain size). The weights for these albedos are the visible and near-infrared fractions of the downward shortwave radiant flux. The SMAP model forced by meteorological data obtained from an automated weather station at SIGMA-A site, northwest GrIS during 30 June to 14 July, 2012 (IOP) was evaluated in terms of surface (optically equivalent) snow grain size and snow albedo. Snow grain size simulated by the model was compared against that retrieved from in-situ spectral albedo measurements. Although the RMSE and ME were reasonable (0.21 mm and 0.17 mm, respectively), the small snow grain size associated with the surface hoar could not be simulated by the SMAP model. As for snow albedo, simulation results agreed well with observations throughout the IOP (RMSE was 0.022 and ME was 0.008). Under cloudy-sky conditions, the SMAP model reproduced observed rapid increase in the snow albedo. When cloud cover is present the near-infrared fraction of the downward shortwave radiant flux is decreased, while it is increased under clear-sky conditions. Therefore, the above mentioned performance of the SMAP model can be attributed to the PBSAM component driven by the observed near-infrared and visible fractions of the downward shortwave radiant flux. This result suggests that it is necessary for snowpack models to consider changes in the visible and near-infrared fractions of the downward shortwave radiant flux caused by the presence of cloud cover to reproduce realistic temporal changes in the snow albedo and consequently the surface energy balance.