Parameterizations for narrowband and broadband albedo of pure snow, and snow containing mineral dust and black carbon
Brandt, Richard E.
Warren, Stephen G.
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The reduction of snow spectral albedo by black carbon (BC) and mineral dust, both alone and in combination, is computed using radiative-transfer modeling. Broadband albedo is shown for mass fractions covering the full range from pure snow to pure BC and pure dust, and for snow grain radii from 5 μm to 2500 μm, to cover the range of possible grain sizes on planetary surfaces. Parameterizations are developed for opaque homogeneous snowpacks for three broad bands used in GCMs, and several narrower bands. They are functions of snow grain radius and the mass fraction of BC and/or dust, and are valid up to BC content of 10 ppm, needed for highly polluted snow. A change of solar zenith angle can be mimicked by changing grain radius. A given mass fraction of BC causes greater albedo reduction in coarse-grained snow; BC and grain radius can be combined into a single variable to compute the reduction of albedo relative to pure snow. The albedo reduction by BC is less if the snow contains dust, a common situation on mountain glaciers and in agricultural and grazing lands. Measured absorption spectra of mineral dust are critically reviewed as a basis for specifying dust properties for modeling. The effect of dust on snow albedo at visible wavelengths can be represented by an “equivalent BC” amount, scaled down by a factor of about 200. Dust has little effect on the near-IR albedo because the near-IR albedo of pure dust is similar to that of pure snow.
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