The Observed Near-Surface Energy Exchange Processes over Arctic Glacier in Summer


  • Under Arctic warming, near-surface energy transfers have significantly changed, but few studies have focused on energy exchange over Arctic glaciers due to limitations in available observations. In this study, the atmospheric energy exchange processes over the Arctic glacier surface were analyzed by using observational data obtained in summer 2019 in comparison with those over the Arctic tundra surface. The energy budget over the glacier greatly differed from that over the tundra, characterized by less net shortwave radiation and downward sensible heat flux, due to the high albedo and icy surface. Most of the incoming solar radiation was injected into the glacier in summer, leading to snow ice melting. During the observation period, strong daily variations in near-surface heat transfer occurred over the Arctic glacier, with the maximum downward and upward heat fluxes occurring on 2 and 6 July 2019, respectively. Further analyses suggested that the maximum downward heat flux is mainly caused by the strong local thermal contrast above the glacier surface, while the maximum upward heat transfer cannot be explained by the classical turbulent heat transfer theory, possibly caused by countergradient heat transfer. Our results indicated that the near-surface energy exchange processes over Arctic glaciers may be strongly related to local forcings, but a more in-depth investigation will be needed in the future when more observational data become available.
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