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Keywords:

  • incoming longwave radiation;
  • glacier energy balance;
  • glacier melt modeling;
  • all-sky parameterizations;
  • model comparison

[1] Parameterizations of incoming longwave radiation are increasingly receiving attention for both low and high elevation glacierized sites. In this paper, we test 13 clear-sky parameterizations combined with seven cloud corrections for all-sky atmospheric emissivity at one location on Haut Glacier d'Arolla. We also analyze the four seasons separately and conduct a cross-validation to test the parameters’ robustness. The best parameterization is the one by Dilley and O'Brien, B for clear-sky conditions combined with Unsworth and Monteith cloud correction. This model is also the most robust when tested in cross-validation. When validated at different sites in the southern Alps of Switzerland and north-western Italian Alps, all parameterizations show a substantial decrease in performance, except for one site, thus suggesting that it is important to recalibrate parameterizations of incoming longwave radiation for different locations. We argue that this is due to differences in the structure of the atmosphere at the sites. We also quantify the effect that the incoming longwave radiation parameterizations have on energy-balance melt modeling, and show that recalibration of model parameters is needed. Using parameters from other sites leads to a significant underestimation of melt and to an error that is larger than that associated with using different parameterizations. Once recalibrated, however, the parameters of most models seem to be stable over seasons and years at the location on Haut Glacier d'Arolla.