Spatial variations in the winter heat flux at SHEBA: estimates from snow–ice interface temperatures
Abstract:The temperature of the snow–ice interface was measured every 2.4 h throughout winter 1997/98 at 30 locations near the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) camp in the Beaufort Sea. Measurements were obtained from young ice, ridges, refrozen melt ponds and ice hummocks. Average snow depths at these locations were 5–67cm, while mean interface temperatures ranged from −8° to −25°C, with minimums varying from −12° to −39°C. Interface temperatures were linearly related to snow depth, with increasing scatter at greater depths. The conductive heat flux during the winter, Fc, was estimated for each location using air and interface temperatures, snow depths and measured snow thermal conductivities. Fc was integrated to determine total heat loss for the winter at each site. Losses varied by a factor of four, with variations over short distances (10 m) as large as the variations between ice floes. Spot measurements along traverse lines confirm that large variations in interface temperature are common, and imply that small-scale spatial variability in the conductive flux is widespread. A comparison of the dependence of Fc on snow depth and ice thickness based on our observations with the dependence predicted by a one-dimensional theoretical model suggests that spatial heterogeneity may be an important issue to consider when estimating the heat flux over large aggregate areas. We suggest that the small-scale variability in the conductive flux arises because the combined snow and ice geometry can produce significant horizontal conduction of heat.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2001
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