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Sensitivity of Glacier Runoff to Winter Snow Thickness Investigated for Vatnajökull Ice Cap, Iceland, Using Numerical Models and Observations

Sensitivity of Glacier Runoff to Winter Snow Thickness Investigated for Vatnajökull Ice Cap, Iceland, Using Numerical Models and Observations


Title: Sensitivity of Glacier Runoff to Winter Snow Thickness Investigated for Vatnajökull Ice Cap, Iceland, Using Numerical Models and Observations
Author: Schmidt, Louise Steffensen
Langen, Peter
Adalgeirsdottir, Gudfinna   orcid.org/0000-0002-3442-2733
Pálsson, Finnur   orcid.org/0000-0002-0874-6443
Guðmundsson, Sverrir
Gunnarsson, Andri   orcid.org/0000-0002-9041-8763
Date: 2018-11-15
Language: English
Scope: 450
University/Institute: Háskóli Íslands
University of Iceland
School: Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasvið (HÍ)
School of Engineering and Natural Sciences (UI)
Department: Jarðvísindastofnun (HÍ)
Institute of Earth Sciences (UI)
Umhverfis- og byggingarverkfræðideild (HÍ)
Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering (UI)
Series: Atmosphere;9(11)
ISSN: 2073-4433
DOI: 10.3390/atmos9110450
Subject: Regional climate models; Glaciers; Snowfall; Snow-albedo feedback; Runoff sensitivity; Jöklar; Snjóalög; Líkön; Bráðnun (jöklafræði)
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/1251

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Citation:

Schmidt LS, Langen PL, Aðalgeirsdóttir G, Pálsson F, Guðmundsson S, Gunnarsson A. Sensitivity of Glacier Runoff to Winter Snow Thickness Investigated for Vatnajökull Ice Cap, Iceland, Using Numerical Models and Observations. Atmosphere. 2018; 9(11):450. doi:10.3390/atmos9110450

Abstract:

Several simulations of the surface climate and energy balance of Vatnajökull ice cap, Iceland, are used to estimate the glacier runoff for the period 1980–2015 and the sensitivity of runoff to the spring conditions (e.g., snow thickness). The simulations are calculated using the snow pack scheme from the regional climate model HIRHAM5, forced with incoming mass and energy fluxes from the numerical weather prediction model HARMONIE-AROME. The modeled runoff is compared to available observations from two outlet glaciers to assess the quality of the simulations. To test the sensitivity of the runoff to spring conditions, simulations are repeated for the spring conditions of each of the years 1980–2015, followed by the weather of all summers in the same period. We find that for the whole ice cap, the variability in runoff as a function of varying spring conditions was on average 31% of the variability due to changing summer weather. However, some outlet glaciers are very sensitive to the amount of snow in the spring, as e.g., the variation in runoff from Brúarjökull due to changing spring conditions was on average 50% of the variability due to varying summer weather.

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

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