Albedo of coastal landfast sea ice in Prydz Bay, Antarctica: Observations and parameterization

thomas.jung [ at ]


The snow/sea-ice albedo was measured over coastal landfast sea ice in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica (off Zhongshan Station) during the austral spring and summer of 2010 and 2011. The variation of the observed albedo was a combination of a gradual seasonal transition from spring to summer and abrupt changes resulting from synoptic events, including snowfall, blowing snow, and overcast skies. The measured albedo ranged from 0.94 over thick fresh snow to 0.36 over melting sea ice. It was found that snow thickness was the most important factor influencing the albedo variation, while synoptic events and overcast skies could increase the albedo by about 0.18 and 0.06, respectively. The in-situ measured albedo and related physical parameters (e.g., snow thickness, ice thickness, surface temperature, and air temperature) were then used to evaluate four different snow/ice albedo parameterizations used in a variety of climate models. The parameterized albedos showed substantial discrepancies compared to the observed albedo, particularly during the summer melt period, even though more complex parameterizations yielded more realistic variations than simple ones. A modified parameterization was developed, which further considered synoptic events, cloud cover, and the local landfast sea-ice surface characteristics. The resulting parameterized albedo showed very good agreement with the observed albedo.

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Primary Division
Primary Topic
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.1007/s00376-015-5114-7

Cite as
Yang, Q. , Liu, J. , Leppäranta, M. , Sun, Q. , Li, R. , Zhang, L. , Jung, T. , Lei, R. , Zhang, Z. , Li, M. , Zhao, J. and Cheng, J. (2016): Albedo of coastal landfast sea ice in Prydz Bay, Antarctica: Observations and parameterization , Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, 33 (5), pp. 535-543 . doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5114-7



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