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Volume 17, issue 3 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 2279-2296, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-2279-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 14 Feb 2017

Research article | 14 Feb 2017

Observations and model simulations of snow albedo reduction in seasonal snow due to insoluble light-absorbing particles during 2014 Chinese survey

Xin Wang1, Wei Pu1, Yong Ren1, Xuelei Zhang2, Xueying Zhang1, Jinsen Shi1, Hongchun Jin1, Mingkai Dai1, and Quanliang Chen3 Xin Wang et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Environment, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
  • 3College of Atmospheric Science, Chengdu University of Information Technology, and Plateau Atmospheric and Environment Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu 610225, China

Abstract. A snow survey was carried out to collect 13 surface snow samples (10 for fresh snow, and 3 for aged snow) and 79 subsurface snow samples in seasonal snow at 13 sites across northeastern China in January 2014. A spectrophotometer combined with chemical analysis was used to quantify snow particulate absorption by insoluble light-absorbing particles (ILAPs, e.g., black carbon, BC; mineral dust, MD; and organic carbon, OC) in snow. Snow albedo was measured using a field spectroradiometer. A new radiative transfer model (Spectral Albedo Model for Dirty Snow, or SAMDS) was then developed to simulate the spectral albedo of snow based on the asymptotic radiative transfer theory. A comparison between SAMDS and an existing model – the Snow, Ice, and Aerosol Radiation (SNICAR) – indicates good agreements in the model-simulated spectral albedos of pure snow. However, the SNICAR model values tended to be slightly lower than those of SAMDS when BC and MD were considered. Given the measured BC, MD, and OC mixing ratios of 100–5000, 2000–6000, and 1000–30000ngg−1, respectively, in surface snow across northeastern China, the SAMDS model produced a snow albedo in the range of 0.95–0.75 for fresh snow at 550nm, with a snow grain optical effective radius (Reff) of 100µm. The snow albedo reduction due to spherical snow grains assumed to be aged snow is larger than fresh snow such as fractal snow grains and hexagonal plate or column snow grains associated with the increased BC in snow. For typical BC mixing ratios of 100ngg−1 in remote areas and 3000ngg−1 in heavy industrial areas across northern China, the snow albedo for internal mixing of BC and snow is lower by 0.005 and 0.036 than that of external mixing for hexagonal plate or column snow grains with Reff of 100µm. These results also show that the simulated snow albedos by both SAMDS and SNICAR agree well with the observed values at low ILAP mixing ratios but tend to be higher than surface observations at high ILAP mixing ratios.

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A 2014 snow survey was performed across northeastern China to analyze light absorption of ILAPs in seasonal snow, and modeling studies were conducted to compare snow albedo reduction due to assumptions of internal–external mixing of BC in snow and different snow grain shapes. The results show that the simulated snow albedos from both SAMDS and SNICAR agree well with the observed values at low ILAP mixing ratios, but they tend to be higher than surface observations at high ILAP mixing ratios.
A 2014 snow survey was performed across northeastern China to analyze light absorption of ILAPs...
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