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Experimental and numerical investigation of the sintering rate of snow

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Sintering rates in snow were investigated by measuring changes in penetration resistance with time and by using a numerical snow metamorphism model. Periodic Snow Micro Penetrometer (SMP) measurements were performed on uniform snow samples covering a wide range of densities. The mean penetration resistance of snow increased with time according to a power law with an average exponent of 0.18. Simulated changes in the bond-to-grain ratio for simplified spherical ice grains followed a power law with an average exponent of 0.18, showing that the mean penetration resistance, as measured with the SMP, closely relates to bond-to-grain ratio in snow. For lower-density snow samples, consisting mostly of dendritic snow morphologies, the measured increase in penetration resistance was lower. This is likely the result of two competing processes: (1) strengthening of the snow sample due to the creation and growth of bonds and (2) weakening of the snow sample due to the formation of unbonded small rounded particles at the expense of larger dendritic forms. On the other hand, the rate of increase in penetration resistance for snow samples consisting of closely packed depth hoar was similar to that of rounded grains.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2013

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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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