Articles | Volume 16, issue 12
Research article
20 Jun 2016
Research article |  | 20 Jun 2016

The impacts of moisture transport on drifting snow sublimation in the saltation layer

Ning Huang, Xiaoqing Dai, and Jie Zhang

Abstract. Drifting snow sublimation (DSS) is an important physical process related to moisture and heat transfer that happens in the atmospheric boundary layer, which is of glaciological and hydrological importance. It is also essential in order to understand the mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheets and the global climate system. Previous studies mainly focused on the DSS of suspended snow and ignored that in the saltation layer. Here, a drifting snow model combined with balance equations for heat and moisture is established to simulate the physical DSS process in the saltation layer. The simulated results show that DSS can strongly increase humidity and cooling effects, which in turn can significantly reduce DSS in the saltation layer. However, effective moisture transport can dramatically weaken the feedback effects. Due to moisture advection, DSS rate in the saltation layer can be several orders of magnitude greater than that of the suspended particles. Thus, DSS in the saltation layer has an important influence on the distribution and mass–energy balance of snow cover.

Short summary
Drifting snow sublimation (DSS) is of glaciological and hydrological importance. This work is related to the simulation of DSS, which is obviously related to the scientific topics, such as multi-field coupling of wind, snow particles, humidity, etc. Previous studies argued that sublimation will soon vanish in saltation layer. This work shows the sublimation rate of saltating snow can be several orders of magnitude greater than that of the suspended snow due to the impact of moisture advection.
Final-revised paper