Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
The Cryosphere, 10, 2069-2074, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-2069-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
14 Sep 2016
Brief communication: Improved measurement of ice layer density in seasonal snowpacks
Tom Watts1, Nick Rutter1, Peter Toose2, Chris Derksen2, Melody Sandells3,a, and John Woodward1 1Department of Geography, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST, UK
2Climate Research Division, Environment Canada, Toronto, Canada
3National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6AL, UK
anow at: CORES Science and Engineering Limited, Victoria Garesfield, UK
Abstract. The microstructure and density of ice layers in snowpacks is poorly quantified. Here we present a new field method for measuring the density of ice layers caused by melt or rain-on-snow events. The method was used on 87 ice layer samples taken from natural and artificial ice layers in the Canadian Arctic and mid-latitudes. Mean measured ice layer density was 909 ± 28 kg m−3 with a standard deviation of 23 kg m−3, significantly higher than values typically used in the literature.

Citation: Watts, T., Rutter, N., Toose, P., Derksen, C., Sandells, M., and Woodward, J.: Brief communication: Improved measurement of ice layer density in seasonal snowpacks, The Cryosphere, 10, 2069-2074, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-2069-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
Ice layers in snowpacks introduce uncertainty in satellite-derived estimates of snow water equivalent, have ecological impacts on plants and animals, and change the thermal and vapour transport properties of the snowpack. Here we present a new field method for measuring the density of ice layers. The method was used in the Arctic and mid-latitudes; the mean measured ice layer density was significantly higher than values typically used in the literature.
Ice layers in snowpacks introduce uncertainty in satellite-derived estimates of snow water...
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