The residual method for determination of the turbulent exchange coefficient applied to automatic weather station data from Iceland, Switzerland and West Greenland
Abstract:The surface energy balance of glaciers is studied to determine their sensitivity to climate variations. It is known that the turbulent heat fluxes are sensitive to increases in temperature. Automatic weather station data from ablation regions are used to measure melt rates, radiative fluxes and the meteorological data required to determine turbulent heat fluxes using bulk formulas. The turbulent exchange coefficient must be determined for closure of the energy budget. The available methods are the eddy correlation method, the profile method and the residual method, which is applied and tested here. In the residual method the coefficient is determined by fitting a calculated melt curve to an observed melt curve. The coefficients are estimated for three sites: for Vatnajökull, Iceland, Ch = (1.3 ± 0.55) × 10−3 (1998) and Ch = (2.5 ± 1.1) × 10−3 (1999); for Morteratschgletscher, Switzerland, Ch = (2.1 ± 0.55) × 10−3 (1998); and for West Greenland, Ch = (2.0 ± 0.52) × 10−3 (1998–2000). It is found that the coefficient can be determined to within 26% uncertainty under the following conditions: all terms in the energy balance are measured, there is no differential melt on the glacier surface, the melt curves are fitted when the entire snow layer has melted, and the measurement period is several weeks.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2005-08-01
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