3 years ago

Light-absorbing impurities in a southern Tibetan Plateau glacier: Variations and potential impact on snow albedo and radiative forcing

Light-absorbing impurities in a southern Tibetan Plateau glacier: Variations and potential impact on snow albedo and radiative forcing
Light-absorbing impurities (LAIs), such as organic carbon (OC), black carbon (BC), and mineral dust (MD), deposited on the surface snow of glacier can reduce the surface albedo. As there exists insufficient knowledge to completely characterize LAIs variations and difference in LAIs distributions, it is essential to investigate the behaviors of LAIs and their influence on the glaciers across the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Therefore, surface snow and snowpit samples were collected during September 2014 to September 2015 from Zhadang (ZD) glacier in the southern TP to investigate the role of LAIs in the glacier. LAIs concentrations were observed to be higher in surface aged snow than in the fresh snow possibly due to post-depositional processes such as melting or sublimation. The LAIs concentrations showed a significant spatial distribution and marked negative relationship with elevation. Impurity concentrations varied significantly with depth in the vertical profile of the snowpit, with maximum LAIs concentrations frequently occurred in the distinct dust layers which were deposited in non-monsoon, and the bottom of snowpit due to the eluviation in monsoon. Major ions in snowpit and backward trajectory analysis indicated that regional activities and South Asian emissions were the major sources. According to the SNow ICe Aerosol Radiative (SNICAR) model, the average simulated albedo caused by MD and BC in aged snow collected on 31 May 2015 accounts for about 13%±3% and 46%±2% of the albedo reduction. Furthermore, we also found that instantaneous RF caused by MD and BC in aged snow collected on 31 May 2015 varied between 4–16Wm2 and 7–64Wm2, respectively. The effect of BC exceeds that of MD on albedo reduction and instantaneous RF in the study area, indicating that BC played a major role on the surface of the ZD glacier.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0169809516307347

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