Regional and local Snow Grain Size variations in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica and analysis of various distribution scales
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Understanding spatial snow particle size variations are key to help interpretation of remotely sensed data of snow cover. In the case of Antarctica, remote sensing is the only viable option to estimate the surface mass balance of the ice sheet on continental scale. We have investigated snow particle size variability along a transect from the coast onto the polar plateau in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, to better understand the spatial and temporal variations in surface snow properties. Two daily samples were collected during a 55 day traverse to capture the regional variability. Local variability was assessed by sampling in grids at selected locations and the particle size and shape distributions for each site was analysed through digital image analysis, which has the benefit of yielding large quantities of reproducible quantitative data without the need for advanced laboratory analysis. The results provide an understanding of the complexity of snow particle size variability at different scales and show a variability range from 0.18–3.31 mm depending on the sample type (surface, grid or pit). We can verify relationships between grain size and both elevation and distance to the coast (moisture source) but have also identified regional seasonal changes, particularly on the lower elevations of the polar plateau. Our data provide possibilities to quantitatively assess the optical properties of the surface snow for remote sensing. The details of the spatial and temporal variations observed in our data provides a basis for further studies of the complex and coupled processes affecting snow particle size and the interpretation of remote sensing of snow covered areas.
Antarctica, particle size, snow, traverse, JASE
Research subject Physical Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62810OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-62810DiVA: diva2:444914