Radiative and turbulent surface heat fluxes over sea ice in the western Weddell Sea in early summer

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Abstract

[1] The radiative and turbulent heat fluxes between the snow-covered sea ice and the atmosphere were analyzed on the basis of observations during the Ice Station Polarstern (ISPOL) in the western Weddell Sea from 28 November 2004 to 2 January 2005. The net heat flux to the snowpack was 3 ± 2 W m−2 (mean ± standard deviation; defined positive toward snow), consisting of the net shortwave radiation (52 ± 8 W m−2), net longwave radiation (−29 ± 4 W m−2), latent heat flux (−14 ± 5 W m−2), and sensible heat flux (−6 ± 5 W m−2). The snowpack receives heat at daytime while releases heat every night. Snow thinning was due to approximately equal contributions of the increase of snow density, melt, and evaporation. The surface albedo only decreased from 0.9 to 0.8. During a case of cold air advection, the sensible heat flux was even below −50 W m−2. At night, the snow surface temperature was strongly controlled by the incoming longwave radiation. The diurnal cycle in the downward solar radiation drove diurnal cycles in 14 other variables. Comparisons against observations from the Arctic sea ice in summer indicated that at ISPOL the air was colder, surface albedo was higher, and a larger portion of the absorbed solar radiation was returned to the atmosphere via turbulent heat fluxes. The limited melt allowed larger diurnal cycles. Due to regional differences in atmospheric circulation and ice conditions, the ISPOL results cannot be fully generalized for the entire Antarctic sea ice zone.

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