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Energy- and mass-balance observations of the land–ice–ocean–atmosphere system near Barrow, Alaska, USA, November 1999–July 2002

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We present results from a comprehensive field study carried out near Barrow, Alaska, USA, designed to characterize local- to intermediate-scale sea-ice processes in the Arctic coastal zone of central importance to the annual cycle and evolution of the coastal sea ice. Included in this are the behavior of the snow cover of the ice and adjacent tundra and lake system; concurrent studies of mass balance of the sea ice and lake ice; interaction of shortwave radiation with the shore-fast ice and the adjacent land surfaces; evolution of the area coverage and distribution of the various surface types; and the resulting regional albedo values. Maximum snow depths decreased during 2000–02 from 0.38 m to 0.26 m. Ice-melt rates in 2001 were 0.05 and 0.028 m d−1 at the top and bottom of the sea ice respectively, two to three times larger than observations from the central Arctic. Detailed surface results combined with aircraft photography were used to calculate regional albedos for the late spring and early summer of 2001. Values ranged from 0.8 for all cold snow-covered surfaces to approximately 0.4 for melting sea ice and lake ice vs 0.18 for bare tundra. Regional and surface-based values of cumulative shortwave radiation entering the ice were consistent, indicating that albedo sampling on a scale of 200 m can provide a useful representation for regional sea-ice albedo.

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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