Improved Simulation of Arctic Circumpolar Land Area Snow Properties and Soil Temperatures

Royer, Alain ; Picard, Ghislain ; Vargel, Céline ; Langlois, Alexandre ; Gouttevin, Isabelle ; Dumont, Marie

Année de publication
<p align=justify>The impact of high latitude climate warming on Arctic snow cover and its insulating properties has key implications for the surface and soil energy balance. Few studies have investigated specific trends in Arctic snowpack properties because there is a lack of long-term in situ observations and current detailed snow models fail to represent the main traits of Arctic snowpacks. This results in high uncertainty in modeling snow feedbacks on ground thermal regime due to induced changes in snow insulation. To better simulate Arctic snow structure and snow thermal properties, we implemented new parameterizations of several snow physical processes-including the effect of Arctic low vegetation and wind on snowpack-in the Crocus detailed snowpack model. Significant improvements compared to standard Crocus snow simulations and ERA-Interim (ERAi) reanalysis snow outputs were observed for a large set of in-situ snow data over Siberia and North America. Arctic Crocus simulations produced improved Arctic snow density profiles over the initial Crocus version, leading to a soil surface temperature bias of −0.5 K with RMSE of 2.5 K. We performed Crocus simulations over the past 39 years (1979-2018) for circumpolar taiga (open forest) and pan-Arctic areas at a resolution of 0.5°, driven by ERAi meteorological data. Snowpack properties over that period feature significant increase in spring snow bulk density (mainly in May and June), a downward trend in snow cover duration and an upward trend in wet snow (mainly in spring and fall). The pan-Arctic maximum snow water equivalent shows a decrease of −0.33 cm dec−1. With the ERAi air temperature trend of +0.84 K dec−1 featuring Arctic winter warming, these snow property changes have led to an upward trend in soil surface temperature (Tss) at a rate of +0.41 K dec−1 in winter. We show that the implemented snowpack property changes increased the Tss trend by 36% compared to the standard simulation. Winter induced changes in Tss led to a significant increase of 16% (+4 cm dec−1) in the estimated active layer thickness (ALT) over the past 39 years. An increase in ALT could have a significant impact on permafrost evolution, Arctic erosion and hydrology.</p>
Texte intégral

puce  Accès à la notice sur le site du portail documentaire de Météo-France

  Liste complète des notices publiques