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Surface albedo measurements over sea ice in the Baltic Sea during the spring snowmelt period

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The snow/ice albedo was studied during a 4 week field experiment over first-year sea ice in the Gulf of Bothnia, Baltic Sea, in spring 2004. Observations were made on radiative fluxes, cloud cover, wind, air temperature and humidity, as well as snow/ice temperature, thickness, density and grain size. The albedo variation during the observation period was large: the daily mean albedo ranged from 0.79 over a new snow cover to 0.30 over bare, melting ice. The evolution of the albedo was related to the surface properties, but existing parameterizations based on Arctic data did not explain the observations well. The snow thickness was found to be the most critical factor affecting the albedo. A new parameterization was derived for the albedo dependence on snow thickness, to be applied over the Baltic Sea in spring, when periods of melting and freezing alternate but the ice is still relatively thick (about 0.6 m). The diurnal cycle of solar radiation was large, and the snow/ice metamorphism due to the melting during daylight and refreezing during the night caused a diurnal albedo cycle with a maximum in the early morning and a minimum in the afternoon, with an albedo difference up to 0.14 between the two.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2006

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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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