An 11-year record of wintertime snow-surface energy balance and sublimation at 4863 m a.s.l. on the Chhota Shigri Glacier moraine (western Himalaya, India) - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles The Cryosphere Year : 2022

An 11-year record of wintertime snow-surface energy balance and sublimation at 4863 m a.s.l. on the Chhota Shigri Glacier moraine (western Himalaya, India)

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1
Arindan Mandal
  • Function : Author
Thupstan Angchuk
  • Function : Author
Mohd Farooq Azam
  • Function : Author
Alagappan Ramanathan
  • Function : Author
Mohd Soheb
  • Function : Author
Chetan Singh
  • Function : Author

Abstract

Analysis of surface energy balance (SEB) at the glacier/snow surface is the most comprehensive way to explain the atmosphere-glacier/snow interactions, but that requires extensive data. In this study, we have analysed an 11-year (2009-2020) record of the meteorological dataset from an automatic weather station installed at 4863 ma.s.l. (above sea level) on a lateral moraine of the Chhota Shigri Glacier, western Himalaya. The study was carried out over the winter months (December to April) to understand SEB drivers and snow loses through sublimation. Furthermore, this study examines the role of cloud cover on SEB and turbulent heat fluxes. The turbulent heat fluxes were calculated using the bulk-aerodynamic method, including stability corrections. The net short-wave radiation was the primary energy source. However, the turbulent heat fluxes dissipated a significant amount of energy. The cloud cover plays an important role in limiting the incoming short-wave radiation by about 70 %. It also restricts the turbulent heat fluxes by more than 60 %, resulting in lower snow sublimation. During winter, turbulent latent heat flux contributed the largest proportion (64 %) in the total SEB, followed by net radiation (25 %) and sensible heat flux (11 %). Sublimation rates were 3 times higher in clear-sky than overcast conditions, indicating a strong role of cloud cover in shaping favourable conditions for turbulent latent heat flux by modulating the near-surface boundary layer conditions. Dry air, along with high snow-surface temperature and wind speed, favours sublimation. Besides, we also observed that strong and cold winds, possibly through mid-latitude western disturbances, impede sublimation by bringing high moisture content to the region and cooling the snow surface. The estimated snow sublimation fraction was 16 %-42 % of the total winter snowfall at the study site. This study substantiates that the snow sublimation is an essential variable to be considered in glaciohydrological modelling at the high-mountain Himalayan glacierised catchments.
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insu-03859256 , version 1 (18-11-2022)

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Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Arindan Mandal, Thupstan Angchuk, Mohd Farooq Azam, Alagappan Ramanathan, Patrick Wagnon, et al.. An 11-year record of wintertime snow-surface energy balance and sublimation at 4863 m a.s.l. on the Chhota Shigri Glacier moraine (western Himalaya, India). The Cryosphere, 2022, 16, pp.3775-3799. ⟨10.5194/tc-16-3775-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03859256⟩
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