Research Paper

Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 53, Issue 5, pp 763-772

First online:

A one-dimensional heat transfer model of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and modeling of snow temperatures at Dome A, the summit of Antarctic Plateau

  • BaiLian ChenAffiliated withInstitute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of SciencesGraduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • , RenHe ZhangAffiliated withChinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences Email author 
  • , ShuFen SunAffiliated withInstitute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • , LinGen BianAffiliated withChinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences
  • , CunDe XiaoAffiliated withCold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of SciencesChinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences
  • , TingJun ZhangAffiliated withThe National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado

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A vertical one-dimensional numerical model for heat transferring within the near-surface snow layer of the Antarctic Ice Sheet was developed based on simplified parameterizations of associated physical processes for the atmosphere, radiation, and snow/ice systems. Using the meteorological data of an automatic weather station (AWS) at Dome A (80°22′S, 70°22′E), we applied the model to simulate the seasonal temperature variation within a depth of 20 m. Comparison of modeled results with observed snow temperatures at 4 measurement depths (0.1, 1, 3, 10 m) shows good agreement and consistent seasonal variations. The model results reveal the vertical temperature structure within the near-surface snow layer and its seasonal variance with more details than those by limited measurements. Analyses on the model outputs of the surface energy fluxes show that: 1) the surface energy balance at Dome A is characterized by the compensation between negative net radiation and the positive sensible fluxes, and 2) the sensible heat is on average transported from the atmosphere to the snow, and has an evident increase in spring. The results are considered well representative for the highest interior Antarctic Plateau.


Antarctic Ice Sheet near-surface layer energy transfer numerical model