Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 146, Issue 1, pp 133–147 | Cite as

Transport of Snow by the Wind: A Comparison Between Observations in Adélie Land, Antarctica, and Simulations Made with the Regional Climate Model MAR

  • Hubert GalléeEmail author
  • Alexandre Trouvilliez
  • Cécile Agosta
  • Christophe Genthon
  • Vincent Favier
  • Florence Naaim-Bouvet


For the first time a simulation of blowing snow events was validated in detail using one-month long observations (January 2010) made in Adélie Land, Antarctica. A regional climate model featuring a coupled atmosphere/blowing snow/snowpack model is forced laterally by meteorological re-analyses. The vertical grid spacing was 2 m from 2 to 20 m above the surface and the horizontal grid spacing was 5 km. The simulation was validated by comparing the occurrence of blowing snow events and other meteorological parameters at two automatic weather stations. The Nash test allowed us to compute efficiencies of the simulation. The regional climate model simulated the observed wind speed with a positive efficiency (0.69). Wind speeds higher than 12 m s −1 were underestimated. Positive efficiency of the simulated wind speed was a prerequisite for validating the blowing snow model. Temperatures were simulated with a slightly negative efficiency (−0.16) due to overestimation of the amplitude of the diurnal cycle during one week, probably because the cloud cover was underestimated at that location during the period concerned. Snowfall events were correctly simulated by our model, as confirmed by field reports. Because observations suggested that our instrument (an acoustic sounder) tends to overestimate the blowing snow flux, data were not sufficiently accurate to allow the complete validation of snow drift values. However, the simulation of blowing snow occurrence was in good agreement with the observations made during the first 20 days of January 2010, despite the fact that the blowing snow flux may be underestimated by the regional climate model during pure blowing snow events. We found that blowing snow occurs in Adélie Land only when the 30-min wind speed value at 2 m a.g.l. is >10 m s −1. The validation for the last 10 days of January 2010 was less satisfactory because of complications introduced by surface melting and refreezing.


Antarctica Blowing snow Regional climate model Surface mass balance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hubert Gallée
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexandre Trouvilliez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cécile Agosta
    • 1
  • Christophe Genthon
    • 1
  • Vincent Favier
    • 1
  • Florence Naaim-Bouvet
    • 2
  1. 1.UJF–Grenoble 1 / CNRSLaboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement (LGGE) UMR 5183GrenobleFrance
  2. 2.IRSTEA, UR ETGR Erosion Torrentielle Neige AvalanchesDomaine universitaireSaint-Martin-d’HèresFrance

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