Mapping the aerodynamic roughness of the Greenland Ice Sheet surface using ICESat-2: Evaluation over the K-transect

Maurice van Tiggelen, Paul C. J. P. Smeets, Carleen H. Reijmer, Bert Wouters, Jakob F. Steiner, Emile J. Nieuwstraten, Walter W. Immerzeel, Michiel R. van den Broeke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The aerodynamic roughness of heat, moisture, and momentum of a natural surface are important parameters in atmospheric models, as they co-determine the intensity of turbulent transfer between the atmosphere and the surface. Unfortunately this parameter is often poorly known, especially in remote areas where neither high-resolution elevation models nor eddy-covariance measurements are available. In this study we adapt a bulk drag partitioning model to estimate the aerodynamic roughness length (z0m) such that it can be applied to 1D (i.e. unidirectional) elevation profiles, typically measured by laser altimeters. We apply the model to a rough ice surface on the K-transect (west Greenland Ice Sheet) using UAV photogrammetry, and we evaluate the modelled roughness against in situ eddy-covariance observations. We then present a method to estimate the topography at 1 m horizontal resolution using the ICESat-2 satellite laser altimeter, and we demonstrate the high precision of the satellite elevation profiles against UAV photogrammetry. The currently available satellite profiles are used to map the aerodynamic roughness during different time periods along the K-transect, that is compared to an extensive dataset of in situ observations. We find a considerable spatiooral variability in z0m, ranging between 10-4 m for a smooth snow surface and 10-1 m for rough crevassed areas, which confirms the need to incorporate a variable aerodynamic roughness in atmospheric models over ice sheets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2601-2621
Number of pages21
JournalCryosphere
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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