Physical properties of the seasonal snow cover in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica
Abstract:Snow stratigraphy was analyzed in the Maudheimvidda area of western Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica, during austral summer 1999/2000 as a part of the Finnish Antarctic Research Programme (FINNARP). Measurements were made in shallow (1-2 m) snow pits along a 350 km transect from the coastto the polar plateau, covering at least one annual cycle and an elevation range from sea level to about 2500m. The aim of the study is to document spatial and temporal variations in snow-cover properties, with the further aim of relating these variations to environmental factors and to patterns observable by remote sensing. The measurements suggest five principal snow zones: (i) sea ice, (ii) the seaward edge zone of the ice shelf, (iii) the inner parts of the ice shelf, (iv) the snow cover above the grounding line and (v) the local topographic highs. Local topographic highs such as ice domes and ice rises differ from other snow environments: the snow is less densely packed, possibly an indication of locally reduced speed of the katabatic outflow. Fewer and thinner crusts on the topographic highs are consistent with RADARSAT backscatter variations.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2002
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