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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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The Cryosphere, 8, 991-995, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Brief communication
26 May 2014
Brief communication: Light-absorbing impurities can reduce the density of melting snow
O. Meinander1, A. Kontu2, A. Virkkula1, A. Arola3, L. Backman1, P. Dagsson-Waldhauserová4,5, O. Järvinen6, T. Manninen1, J. Svensson1, G. de Leeuw1,6, and M. Leppäranta6 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
2Arctic Research Center, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Sodankylä, Finland
3Kuopio Unit, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Kuopio, Finland
4University of Iceland, Department of Physics, Reykjavik, Iceland
5Agricultural University of Iceland, Faculty of Environment, Hvanneyri, Iceland
6Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Abstract. Climatic effects of black carbon (BC) deposition on snow have been proposed to result from reduced snow albedo and increased melt due to light-absorbing particles. In this study, we hypothesize that BC may decrease the liquid-water retention capacity of melting snow, and present our first data, where both the snow density and elemental carbon content were measured. In our experiments, artificially added light-absorbing impurities decreased the density of seasonally melting natural snow. No relationship was found in case of natural non-melting snow. We also suggest three possible processes that might lead to lower snow density.

Citation: Meinander, O., Kontu, A., Virkkula, A., Arola, A., Backman, L., Dagsson-Waldhauserová, P., Järvinen, O., Manninen, T., Svensson, J., de Leeuw, G., and Leppäranta, M.: Brief communication: Light-absorbing impurities can reduce the density of melting snow, The Cryosphere, 8, 991-995, doi:10.5194/tc-8-991-2014, 2014.
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