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Geophysical Research Letters

First satellite-detected perturbations of outgoing longwave radiation associated with blowing snow events over Antarctica

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Abstract

We present the first satellite-detected perturbations of the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) associated with blowing snow events over the Antarctic ice sheet using data from Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization and Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System. Significant cloud-free OLR differences are observed between the clear and blowing snow sky, with the sign and magnitude depending on season and time of the day. During nighttime, OLRs are usually larger when blowing snow is present; the average difference in OLRs between without and with blowing snow over the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is about −5.2 W/m2 for the winter months of 2009. During daytime, in contrast, the OLR perturbation is usually smaller or even has the opposite sign. The observed seasonal variations and day-night differences in the OLR perturbation are consistent with theoretical calculations of the influence of blowing snow on OLR. Detailed atmospheric profiles are needed to quantify the radiative effect of blowing snow from the satellite observations.

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