• SMAP;
  • radiative forcing;
  • snow albedo;
  • snow grain size;
  • snow impurities;
  • snowpack model

[1] We developed a multilayered physical snowpack model named Snow Metamorphism and Albedo Process (SMAP), which is intended to be incorporated into general circulation models for climate simulations. To simulate realistic physical states of snowpack, SMAP incorporates a state-of-the-art physically based snow albedo model, which calculates snow albedo and solar heating profile in snowpack considering effects of snow grain size and snow impurities explicitly. We evaluated the performance of SMAP with meteorological and snow impurities (black carbon and dust) input data measured at Sapporo, Japan during two winters: 2007–2008 and 2008–2009, and found SMAP successfully reproduced all observed variations of physical properties of snowpack for both winters. We have thus confirmed that SMAP is suitable for climate simulations. With SMAP, we also investigated the effects of snow impurities on snowmelt at Sapporo during the two winters. We found that snowpack durations at Sapporo were shortened by 19 days during the 2007–2008 winter and by 16 days during the 2008–2009 winter due to radiative forcings caused by snow impurities. The estimated radiative forcings due to snow impurities during the accumulation periods were 3.7 W/m2 (it corresponds to albedo reduction in 0.05) and 3.2 W/m2 (albedo reduction in 0.05) for the 2007–2008 and 2008–2009 winters, respectively. While during the ablation periods they were 25.9 W/m2 (albedo reduction in 0.18) and 21.0 W/m2 (albedo reduction in 0.17) for each winter, respectively.