Accession Number : ADP007305

Title :   The Impact of Snow and Sea Ice Variations on Global Climate Change,

Corporate Author : RICE UNIV HOUSTON TX

Personal Author(s) : Ledley, Tamara S.

Report Date : MAR 1992

Pagination or Media Count : 4

Abstract : Recent work with a coupled energy balance climate-sea ice model has shown that sea ice has a large impact on the energy fluxes between the ocean and the atmosphere and thus on climate, especially in the polar regions. In this study the impact of the addition of snowfall on sea ice and its effect on climate is examined. The results show that the addition of snow introduces three major competing effects. The first effect is that the snow acts as an insulator, keeping the ice warm and thus thin. This would seem to produce a warming effect on the climate. The second is that snow has a lower volumetric specific heat than ice causing it to cool during the winter and warm during the summer more rapidly than ice. The third is that snow has a higher albedo than ice. This causes a reduction in the absorbed solar energy by the entire earth-atmosphere system and thus a cooling of the climate. The results described here indicate that the albedo effect is dominant, so that the addition of snow cools the climate.

Descriptors :   *ATMOSPHERICS, *SEA ICE, *SNOW, ALBEDO, CLIMATE, EARTH ATMOSPHERE, ICE, MODELS, OCEANS, POLAR REGIONS, REDUCTION, SOLAR ENERGY, SPECIFIC HEAT, GREENHOUSE EFFECT, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT.

Subject Categories : Atmospheric Physics
      Cartography and Aerial Photography
      Snow, Ice and Permafrost

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE