Skip to main content

Intra-surface radiative transfer limits the geographic extent of snow penitents on horizontal snowfields

Buy Article:

$35.11 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Abstract:

Penitents are broad snow spikes and ridges that range in height between centimeters and meters. Two key features of penitents remain unexplained: (1) they generally form at low latitudes and (2) their ridges and troughs have an east–west orientation. Here we show that surface-to-surface exchange of shortwave radiation and the local geometry of the sun's daily arc across the sky are the key processes that, in the absence of other effects, determine the geographic extent of where surface roughness features can grow or dissipate on snowfields and ice surfaces. As an application of our analysis, we examine the question of the geographic extent of snow penitents on horizontal surfaces. The results show that surface-to-surface radiative transfer can explain why penitents do not form on horizontal surfaces more than ∼55° off the equator. We further show on the basis of the sun's path across the sky that penitents that are corrugated, i.e. occur in long ridges or rows, must align their ridge axis within 30° of the east–west transect.

Keywords: ENERGY BALANCE; ICE/ATMOSPHERE INTERACTIONS; MOUNTAIN GLACIERS; SNOW/ICE SURFACE PROCESSES

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/2014JoG13J124

Publication date: February 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • 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.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
igsoc/jog/2014/00000060/00000219/art00014
dcterms_title,dcterms_description,pub_keyword
6
5
20
40
5

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more