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