Performance of MAR (v3.11) in simulating the drifting-snow climate and surface mass balance of Adélie Land, East Antarctica

Amory, Charles ; Kittel, Christoph ; Le Toumelin, Louis ; Agosta, Cécile ; Delhasse, Alison ; Favier, Vincent ; Fettweis, Xavier

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<p align=justify>Drifting snow, or the wind-driven transport of snow particles originating from clouds and the surface below and above 2 m above ground and their concurrent sublimation, is a poorly documented process on the Antarctic ice sheet, which is inherently lacking in most climate models. Since drifting snow mostly results from erosion of surface particles, a comprehensive evaluation of this process in climate models requires a concurrent assessment of simulated drifting-snow transport and the surface mass balance (SMB). In this paper a new version of the drifting-snow scheme currently embedded in the regional climate model MAR (v3.11) is extensively described. Several important modifications relative to previous version have been implemented and include notably a parameterization for drifting-snow compaction of the uppermost snowpack layer, differentiated snow density at deposition between precipitation and drifting snow, and a rewrite of the threshold friction velocity above which snow erosion initiates. Model results at high resolution (10 km) over Adélie Land, East Antarctica, for the period 2004-2018 are presented and evaluated against available near-surface meteorological observations at half-hourly resolution and annual SMB estimates. The evaluation demonstrates that MAR resolves the local drifting-snow frequency and transport up to the scale of the drifting-snow event and captures the resulting observed climate and SMB variability, suggesting that this model version can be used for continent-wide applications.</p>
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