A surface energy balance model is forced by 13 years of high-quality hourly observations from the Antarctic coastal station Neumayer. The model accurately reproduces observed surface temperatures. Surface sublimation is significant in summer, when absorbed solar radiation heats the surface. Including a first order estimate of snowdrift sublimation in the calculation more than triples the total sublimation, removing 19% of the solid precipitation, indicating that snowdrift sublimation is potentially important for the mass balance of Antarctic ice shelves. Surface melt occurs at Neumayer in all summers, but all the meltwater refreezes. In two-thirds of the cases, the refreezing is quasi-instantaneous (within the model timestep of 6 min), so that no liquid water remains in the snow. For all other events, the occurrence of liquid water in the snowpack at Neumayer agrees well with satellite-based liquid water detection.