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Snow particle sizes and their distributions in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, at sample, local and regional scales

  • Susanne Ingvander (a1), Peter Jansson (a1), Ian A. Brown (a1), Shuji Fujita (a2) (a3), Shin Sugyama (a4), Sylviane Surdyk (a2), Hiroyuki Enomoto (a2) (a3), Margareta Hansson (a1) and Per Holmlund (a1)...

Abstract

In this study, snow particle size variability was investigated along a transect in Dronning Maud Land from the coast to the polar plateau. The aim of the study was to better understand the spatial and temporal variations in surface snow properties. Samples were collected twice daily during a traverse in 2007–08 to capture regional variability. Local variability was assessed by sampling in 10×10 m grids (5 m spacing) at selected locations. The particle size and shape distributions for each site were analysed through digital image analysis. Snow particle size variability is complex at different scales, and shows an internal variability of 0.18–3.31 mm depending on the sample type (surface, grid or pit). Relationships were verified between particle size and both elevation and distance to the coast (moisture source). Regional seasonal changes were also identified, particularly on the lower elevations of the polar plateau. This dataset may be used to quantitatively analyse the optical properties of surface snow for remote sensing. The details of the spatial and temporal variations observed in our data provide a basis for further studies of the complex and coupled processes affecting snow particle size and the interpretation of remote sensing of snow covered areas.

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