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Three-dimensional geometric measurements of snow microstructural evolution under isothermal conditions

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Snow, from its fall until its full melting, undergoes a structural meta-morphism that is governed by temperature and humidity fields. Among the many possible mechanisms that contribute to snow metamorphism, those that depend only on curvature are the most accessible to modelling. In this paper, techniques of volume data analysis adapted to the complex geometry of snow are introduced and then applied to experimental tomographic data coming from the isothermal metamorphism of snow near 0°C. In particular, an adaptive algorithm of curvature computation is described. Present results on the evolution of specific surface area and anisotropy already show that such image-analysis methods are relevant tools for the characterization of real snow microstructures. Moreover, the evolution of the curvature distribution with time provides valuable information for the development of sintering models, in the same way as a possible quantitative calibration of snow-grain coarsening laws.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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