Snowmelt at the high Arctic sites, Resolute, N.W.T.

TitleSnowmelt at the high Arctic sites, Resolute, N.W.T.
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1996
AuthorsYang, D.
Conference Name64th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 64th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1996
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationBend, Oregon
KeywordsArctic, Microclimate, Modeling, North West Territories, Snow accumulation

To understand the snowmelt processes in the high Arctic, field work was conducted during late May to mid June of 1994 at two sites in the study area near Resolute, Cornwallis Island. One site had relatively clean snow and the other was covered by windblown dust from the road and runway nearby. Microclimate elements (air temperature, precipitation, humidity, windspeed, radiation) and snow temperature and daily snow melt were recorded by automatic instruments at both sites. Snow samples were collected at fixed locations on selected dates for dust content analysis. Comparison of the microclimate was made between the sites and significant difference of dust content, of snow surface albedo and, hence, of net radiation was found. As result of the radiation difference, the dirty snow melted earlier and the snow cover disappeared about 10 days before the clean snow.In the calculation of energy balance, snow surface roughness length was estimated by wind profile method using wind observations at 3 levels at the site. The comparison of snowmelt computed from the energy balance was made to the observed snowmelt in the field. A good agreement has been obtained at two sites with different snow conditions. This indicates that the energy balance approach is a good short-term predictor of snowmelt in the high Arctic.