Scale-dependent roughness of a glacier surface: implications for radar backscatter and aerodynamic roughness modelling

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The roughness of the snow-free surface of the glacier midre LovĂ©nbreen, Svalbard, has been investigated on scales between 1 mm and 300 m. It is shown that the roughness is reasonably well described by scale-free (fractal) models for scales longer than a few metres and shorter than about 100 mm. However, there is a break in the behaviour between these scales which can be characterized by a definite scale length of 70–500 mm and a root-mean-square height variation between around 6 and 70 mm. The aerodynamic roughness length contributed by these features is estimated to be 0.3–1.5 mm. Features on this scale are consistent with the observed microwave backscattering properties of the glacier.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2006

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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