Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
The Cryosphere, 10, 791-797, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-791-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
07 Apr 2016
Metamorphism during temperature gradient with undersaturated advective airflow in a snow sample
Pirmin Philipp Ebner1,2, Martin Schneebeli2, and Aldo Steinfeld1 1Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
2WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, 7260 Davos Dorf, Switzerland
Abstract. Snow at or close to the surface commonly undergoes temperature gradient metamorphism under advective flow, which alters its microstructure and physical properties. Time-lapse X-ray microtomography is applied to investigate the structural dynamics of temperature gradient snow metamorphism exposed to an advective airflow in controlled laboratory conditions. Cold saturated air at the inlet was blown into the snow samples and warmed up while flowing across the sample with a temperature gradient of around 50 K m−1. Changes of the porous ice structure were observed at mid-height of the snow sample. Sublimation occurred due to the slight undersaturation of the incoming air into the warmer ice matrix. Diffusion of water vapor opposite to the direction of the temperature gradient counteracted the mass transport of advection. Therefore, the total net ice change was negligible leading to a constant porosity profile. However, the strong recrystallization of water molecules in snow may impact its isotopic or chemical content.

Citation: Ebner, P. P., Schneebeli, M., and Steinfeld, A.: Metamorphism during temperature gradient with undersaturated advective airflow in a snow sample, The Cryosphere, 10, 791-797, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-791-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
Changes of the porous ice structure were observed in a snow sample. Sublimation occurred due to the slight undersaturation of the incoming air into the warmer ice matrix. Diffusion of water vapor opposite to the direction of the temperature gradient counteracted the mass transport of advection. Therefore, the total net ice change was negligible, leading to a constant porosity profile. However, the strong recrystallization of water molecules in snow may impact its isotopic or chemical content.
Changes of the porous ice structure were observed in a snow sample. Sublimation occurred due to...
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