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Experimental studies of soot’s effect on snow

Experimental studies of soot's effect on snow

A series of unique experiments organized by FMI were conducted to further study the effects of soot particles on snow reflectivity and snow melt.

The snow reflectivity, also known as albedo, of a natural snowpack was carefully measured after soot particles were deposited onto the snow surface. The albedo reduction was the most pronounced for the snow with higher soot content, and it was observed immediately following soot deposition. Compared with a previous laboratory study the effects of soot on the snow were not as prominent in the outdoor conditions. During snowmelt, about 50% of the originally deposited soot particles were observed to remain at the snow surface. More detailed experiments are however needed to better explain soot's effect on snow and to better quantify this effect. A relationship between soot concentration and a corresponding albedo reduction was created from the experimental data.

Our albedo versus soot parameterization agreed relatively well with previously published relationships.

More information:

Jonas Svensson, jonas.svensson@fmi.fi

Svensson J., Virkkula A., Meinander O., Kivekäs N., Hannula H.-R., Järvinen O., Peltoniemi J.I., Gritsevich M., Heikkilä A., Kontu A., Neitola K., Brus D., Dagsson-Waldhauserova P., Anttila K., Vehkamäki M., Hienola A., de Leeuw G. & Lihavainen H. 2016: Soot-doped natural snow and its albedo — results from field experiments. Boreal Env. Res. 21: 481–503



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