Modeling 2m air temperatures over mountain glaciers: Exploring the influence of katabatic cooling and external warming

Ayala, Alavaro, Pellicciotti, Francesca and Shea, J. M. (2015) Modeling 2m air temperatures over mountain glaciers: Exploring the influence of katabatic cooling and external warming. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 120 (8). pp. 3139-3157. ISSN 2169-897X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015JD023137

Abstract

Air temperature is one of the most relevant input variables for snow and ice melt calculations. However, local meteorological conditions, complex topography, and logistical concerns in glacierized regions make the measuring and modeling of air temperature a difficult task. In this study, we investigate the spatial distribution of 2 m air temperature over mountain glaciers and propose a modification to an existing model to improve its representation. Spatially distributed meteorological data from Haut Glacier d'Arolla (Switzerland), Place (Canada), and Juncal Norte (Chile) Glaciers are used to examine approximate flow line temperatures during their respective ablation seasons. During warm conditions (off-glacier temperatures well above 0°C), observed air temperatures in the upper reaches of Place Glacier and Haut Glacier d'Arolla decrease down glacier along the approximate flow line. At Juncal Norte and Haut Glacier d'Arolla, an increase in air temperature is observed over the glacier tongue. While the temperature behavior over the upper part can be explained by the cooling effect of the glacier surface, the temperature increase over the glacier tongue may be caused by several processes induced by the surrounding warm atmosphere. In order to capture the latter effect, we add an additional term to the Greuell and Böhm (GB) thermodynamic glacier wind model. For high off-glacier temperatures, the modified GB model reduces root-mean-square error up to 32% and provides a new approach for distributing air temperature over mountain glaciers as a function of off-glacier temperatures and approximate glacier flow lines.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: air temperature variability over glaciers; katabatic wind; melt modeling; temperature extrapolation; temperature lapse rates; boundary layer meteorology
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2015 14:11
Last Modified: 09 May 2017 15:41
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/22863

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