Towards a fully physical representation of snow on Arctic sea ice using a 3D snow-atmosphere model Journal Article uri icon



  • Snow plays a crucial role in the heat transfer between the ocean and; atmosphere in sea ice due to its insulating properties. However,; wind-induced transport causes the snow distribution to be inhomogeneous,; as snow forms dunes and accumulates mostly around pressure ridges and,; leading to a heterogeneous underlying ice growth and melt. While models; can help to understand the complex interactions of snow and sea ice,; there is currently no 3D snow cover model for sea ice that considers; detailed snow cover properties. This study presents the first; application of the 3D-snow cover-atmosphere model ALPINE3D with the; drifting snow module to Arctic sea ice. The model was calibrated and; validated with measurements from the MOSAiC expedition. Wind fields used; by the snow drift routine were generated with OpenFOAM which was forced; by observations. A sensitivity analysis showed the impact of an; increased fluid threshold on snow redistribution. The model performed; well in simulating snow transport and mass fluxes, but underestimated; erosion and poorly reproduced dune formation due to the missing dynamic; mesh. The density was partially reproduced very well by the model, but; uncertainties still exist in some cases. Comparing the surface snow; density results with 1-D SNOWPACK simulations, ALPINE3D produced smaller; differences but larger temporal variation in between setups. The study; also investigated details of deposition and erosion using cross; sections, showing good agreements of snow height differences between; model and observations and revealing spatially high-resolution; parameters such as age of deposited snow, density, and thermal; conductivity.

publication date

  • March 16, 2023

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • March 29, 2023 12:04 PM

Full Author List

  • Wagner DN; Clemens-Sewall D; Frey MM; Hames O; Jafari M; Macfarlane AR; Michel A; Schneebeli M; Shupe MD; Wever N

author count

  • 11

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