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Validation of the energy budget of an alpine snowpack simulated by several snow models (SnowMIP project)

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Many snow models have been developed for various applications such as hydrology, global atmospheric circulation models and avalanche forecasting. The degree of complexity of these models is highly variable, ranging from simple index methods to multi-layer models that simulate snow-cover stratigraphy and texture. In the framework of the Snow Model Intercomparison Project (Snow MIP),23 models were compared using observed meteorological parameters from two mountainous alpine sites. The analysis here focuses on validation of snow energy-budget simulations. Albedo and snow surface temperature observations allow identification of the more realistic simulations and quantification of errors for two components of the energy budget: the net short-and longwave radiation. In particular, the different albedo parameterizations are evaluated for different snowpack states (in winter and spring). Analysis of results during the melting period allows an investigation of the different ways of partitioning the energy fluxes and reveals the complex feedbacks which occur when simulating the snow energy budget. Particular attention is paid to the impact of model complexity on the energy-budget components. The model complexity has a major role for the net longwave radiation calculation, whereas the albedo parameterization is the most significant factor explaining the accuracy of the net shortwave radiation simulation.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-01-01

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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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