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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Earth Sci. | doi: 10.3389/feart.2019.00201

Pressure-driven Vapor Exchange with Surface Snow

  • 1University of Nevada, Reno, United States
  • 2Oregon State University, United States

Atmospheric pressure changes ranging from high-amplitude, low-frequency events caused by synoptic weather systems to smaller amplitude, high-frequency events caused by turbulence penetrate permeable snow surfaces. Fluxes driven by these pressure changes augment non-radiative processes that filter atmospheric aerosols and drive near-surface vapor flux by sublimation, condensation and deposition. We report on field experiments in which we measured the amplitude of mid-to-high frequency pressure changes as they varied with depth in a seasonal snowpack and on two empirical models that distinguish conditions that promote pressure-driven vapor exchange.
We found that the standard deviation of pressure changes poorly characterizes pressure perturbation amplitudes that drive vapor exchange because many low amplitude perturbations mask the influence of less common but more consequential high amplitude perturbations. Spectral analysis of pressure perturbation energy at different snow depths revealed an empirical formula that quantifies perturbation pressure attenuation as a function of frequency and depth in snow. Model results indicated that sublimation enhancement is maximized for perturbation pressure periods between 0.2 and 10 s.

Keywords: Snow, vapor, Exchange, Sublimation, Pressure, perturbation, fluctuation, Frequency

Received: 16 Dec 2018; Accepted: 23 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Michael Lehning, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

Reviewed by:

Ruzica Dadic, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Vincent Vionnet, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Stuart J. Bartlett, California Institute of Technology, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Drake, Higgins and Selker. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Stephen Drake, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, United States, stephendrake@unr.edu