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Temporal isotope changes in wet snow layers in association with mass exchange between snow particles and liquid water in between the particles

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We carried out snow-pit observations at Nagaoka, Niigata prefecture, Japan, where the snow layers were at the melting point. It was observed that the water content in the snowpack was nearly constant at approximately 10%, and the coarsening rate of snow particles was about 0.4 × 10−3 mm3 h−1, which was in the range between the rate for dry snow and that for snow soaked in water. The isotope change of snow particles by melting and freezing in a closed system under isothermal conditions at 0°C was modeled. The temporal change in isotope concentration was calculated for wet snow layers, based on the fractionation between snow particles and liquid water in between the particles, in association with the coarsening of snow particles. The results compared well with field observations. These results suggest that the isotope concentration of the pore water that flows downward from the surface contributed significantly to the isotope change of snow particles.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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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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