Two inverse methods are proposed as a means of estimating the thermal diffusivity of snow and firn from continuous measurements of their temperature. The first method is applicable to shallow depths where temperature experiences diurnal variations, and is based on the fact that phase and amplitude of these diurnal variations are functions of the thermal diffusivity. The second method is applicable to the deeper part of the firn layer, and is based on a simple least-squares estimation technique. The methods applied here differ from various methods used for borehole paleothermometry in that observations are continuous in time and performance constraints on model/data misfit can be applied over a finite temporal period. Both methods are tested on temperature records from thermistor strings operating in the upper 2.5 m of firn on iceberg C16 (Ross Sea, Antarctica) from 2004 to 2007. Results of the analysis show promise in identifying melting events and the movement and refreezing of meltwater within the snow/firn layer.
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