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Evolution of the Svalbard annual snow layer during the melting phase

Journal article
Authors A. Spolaor
E. Barbaro
J. M. Christille
T. Kirchgeorg
F. Giardi
D. Cappelletti
C. Turetta
A. Bernagozzi
Mats P. Björkman
E. Bertolini
C. Barbante
Published in Rendiconti Lincei-Scienze Fisiche E Naturali
Volume 27
Issue Supplement 1
Pages 147-154
ISSN 2037-4631
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 147-154
Language en
Keywords Snow evolution, Melting events, Chemical composition, model
Subject categories Environmental Sciences


Understanding and monitoring the evolution of annual snow is an important aspect of cryosphere research. Changes in physical proprieties such as hardness, presence of melt layers, or the shape and size of crystals can completely modify the robustness, propriety and quality of the snow. Evaluating these changes can inform the study and prediction of avalanches. The annual snow layer is also a sink for several compounds and elements. In the polar environment, many compounds can be accumulated during winter depositions, especially during the polar night. During the spring, the combination of solar radiation and the melting of annual snow can release these compounds and elements into the atmosphere and groundwater. An in-depth investigation of the evolution of the first meter of the annual snow layer was conducted in the glacier of Austre Broggerbreen, Svalbard, between the 27th of March and the 31st of May, in concomitance with the start of the melting phase. The present monitoring study mainly aimed to evaluate changes in the thermal profile and water content during the formation of a new ice layer as well as the re-allocation of the total dissolved salts in the different snow layers.

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