• Ahrens, C. D., 1994: Meteorology Today. West Publishing, 591 pp.

  • Baker, D. G., R. H. Skaggs, and D. L. Ruschy, 1991: Snow depth required to mask the underlying surface. J. Appl. Meteor.,30, 387–392.

  • ——, D. L. Ruschy, R. H. Skaggs, and D. B. Wall, 1992: Air temperature and radiation depression associated with a snow cover. J. Appl. Meteor.,31, 247–254.

  • Barnett, T. P., L. Dumenil, U. Schlese, E. Roeckner, and M. Latif, 1989: The effect of Eurasian snow cover on regional and global climate variations. J. Atmos. Sci.,46, 661–685.

  • Cerveny, R. S., and R. C. Balling, 1992: The impact of snow cover on diurnal temperature readings. Geophys. Res. Lett.,19, 797–800.

  • Dewey, K. F., 1977: Daily maximum and minimum temperature forecasts and the influence of snow cover. Mon. Wea. Rev.,105, 1594–1597.

  • ——, 1987: Snow cover–atmosphere interactions. Large-Scale Effects of Seasonal Snow Cover: Proceedings of the Vancouver Symposium, Int. Assoc. Hydrol. Sci. Publ. 166, 27–42.

  • Dey, B., and B. Kumar, 1983: Himalayan winter snow cover area and summer monsoon rainfall over India. J. Geophys. Res.,88, 5471–5474.

  • Dickson, R. R., 1984: Eurasian snow cover versus Indian monsoon rainfall—An extension of the Hahn–Shukla results. J. Climate Appl. Meteor.,23, 171–173.

  • Ellis, A. W., and D. J. Leathers, 1998: A quantitative approach to evaluating the effects of snow cover on cold air mass temperatures across the U.S. Great Plains. Wea. Forecasting,13, 688–701.

  • Gutzler, D. S., and R. D. Rosen, 1992: Interannual variability of wintertime snow cover across the northern hemisphere. J. Climate,5, 1441–1447.

  • Heim, R., Jr., and K. F. Dewey, 1984: Circulation patterns and temperature fields associated with extensive snow cover on the North American continent. Phys. Geogr.,4, 66–85.

  • Idso, S. B., 1981: A set of equations for full spectrum and 8–14 μm and 10.5–12.5 μm thermal radiation from cloudless skies. Water Resour. Res.,17, 295–304.

  • Jordan, R., 1991: A one dimensional temperature model for a snow cover: Technical documentation for SNTHERM.89. Special Rep. 91-16, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH. [Available from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH 03755-1290.].

  • Lamb, H. H., 1950: Types and spells of weather around the year in the British Isles: Annual trends, seasonal structure of the year, singularities. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc.,76, 393–438.

  • Leathers, D. J., and D. A. Robinson, 1993: The association between extremes in North American snow cover extent and United States temperatures. J. Climate,6, 1345–1355.

  • ——, A. W. Ellis, and D. A. Robinson, 1995: Characteristics of temperature depressions associated with snow cover across the northeast United States. J. Appl. Meteor.,34, 381–390.

  • Namias, J., 1962: Influences of abnormal surface heat sources and sinks on Atmospheric behavior. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Numerical Weather Prediction, 1960, Meteorological Society of Japan, 615–627.

  • ——, 1978: Multiple causes of the North American abnormal winter 1976–77. Mon. Wea. Rev.,106, 279–295.

  • ——, 1985: Some empirical evidence for the influence of snow cover on temperature and precipitation. Mon. Wea. Rev.,113, 1542–1553.

  • Robinson, D. A., 1993: Historical daily climatic data for the United States. Preprints, Eighth Conf. on Applied Climatology, Anaheim, CA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 264–269.

  • ——, A. Frei, D. J. Leathers, and M. C. Serreze, 1995a: Northern Hemisphere snow cover during the transition seasons. Proc. 19th Annual Climate Diagnostics Workshop, College Park, MD, NOAA, 377–380.

  • ——, ——, and M. C. Serreze, 1995b: Recent variations and regional relationships in northern hemisphere snow cover. Ann. Glaciol.,21, 71–76.

  • Ross, B., and J. E. Walsh, 1986: Synoptic scale influence of snow cover and sea ice. Mon. Wea. Rev.,114, 1795–1810.

  • Shapiro, R., 1987: A simple model for the calculation of the flux of direct and diffuse solar radiation through the atmosphere. ST Systems Corporation Scientific Rep. 35, Lexington, MA, 49 pp. [Available from Rachel Jordan, Cold Regions Research Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH 03755-1290.].

  • Walsh, J. E., D. R. Tucek, and M. R. Peterson, 1982: Seasonal snow cover and short-term climatic fluctuations over the United States. Mon. Wea. Rev.,110, 1474–1485.

  • ——, W. H. Jasperson, and B. Ross, 1985: Influence of snow cover and soil moisture on monthly air temperature. Mon. Wea. Rev.,113, 756–768.

  • Willmott, C. J., 1984: On the evaluation of model performance in physical geography. Spatial Statistics and Models, G. L. Gaile and C. J. Willmott, Eds., D. Reidel, 443–460.

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 205 41 0
PDF Downloads 64 33 0

Analysis of Cold Airmass Temperature Modification across the U.S. Great Plains as a Consequence of Snow Depth and Albedo

View More View Less
  • a Department of Geography, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
  • | b Center for Climatic Research, Department of Geography, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware
Restricted access

Abstract

The presence of snow cover has been shown to modify atmospheric conditions through much of the earth’s troposphere due to its radiative effects. Snow cover has garnered much attention in recent decades as a result of concerns associated with potential changes in the global environment that may be intensified by the presence or absence of a snow cover. As a result, a greater emphasis has been placed on the representation of snow cover in weather and climate prediction models. This study investigates the effects of snow albedo and snow depth on the modification of surface air temperatures within cold air masses moving across the U.S. Great Plains in winter.

Through the adaptation of a one-dimensional snowpack model, the thermal characteristics of the core of a cold air mass were derived from the equation governing the heat balance between the surface and the lower atmosphere. The methodology was based on the premise that the core of a cold air mass may be considered homogeneous and not subject to advection of air from outside, thereby isolating the exchange of energy between the surface and the atmosphere as the control on lower-tropospheric temperatures. The adapted model included the synergism of the air mass–snow cover relationship through time, incorporating the natural feedback process.

Simulation of surface air temperatures within four cold air masses over snow cover of different albedo values and depths led to several conclusions. In testing the effects of snow albedo, results indicate 1) mean daytime air temperatures 3°–6°C higher and maximum daytime air temperatures 7°–12°C higher over snow with an albedo equal to 0.50 compared to 0.90, as a consequence of differences in sensible heat flux, and ultimately, absorbed solar radiation, and 2) little thermal inertia and therefore little difference in subsequent nighttime airmass temperatures over snow with an albedo of 0.50 compared to 0.90. In testing the effects of snow depth, results indicate 1) little difference in daytime air temperatures associated with a snow depth of 2.5 cm compared to 15.0 or 30.0 cm, 2) an increase in mean nighttime temperatures of 0.2°–0.7°C over a snow depth of 2.5 cm compared to either of the larger depths, and 3) a masking of the underlying bare soil surfaces by the snow depths of 15.0 and 30.0 cm and virtually no difference in airmass temperatures over the two snow depths.

The potential utility of the results of this study lies in their application as additional guidance for temperature forecasts within wintertime cold air masses over, and downstream from, snow cover across the U.S. Great Plains. Likewise, this study illustrates the importance of the various components of the heat balance between the lower atmosphere and snow cover as based on the physical characteristics of the snowpack, which could prove beneficial in considerations of snow cover in weather and climate models.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Andrew W. Ellis, Department of Geography, Arizona State University, Box 870104, Tempe, AZ 85287-0104.

andrew.w.ellis.@asu.edu

Abstract

The presence of snow cover has been shown to modify atmospheric conditions through much of the earth’s troposphere due to its radiative effects. Snow cover has garnered much attention in recent decades as a result of concerns associated with potential changes in the global environment that may be intensified by the presence or absence of a snow cover. As a result, a greater emphasis has been placed on the representation of snow cover in weather and climate prediction models. This study investigates the effects of snow albedo and snow depth on the modification of surface air temperatures within cold air masses moving across the U.S. Great Plains in winter.

Through the adaptation of a one-dimensional snowpack model, the thermal characteristics of the core of a cold air mass were derived from the equation governing the heat balance between the surface and the lower atmosphere. The methodology was based on the premise that the core of a cold air mass may be considered homogeneous and not subject to advection of air from outside, thereby isolating the exchange of energy between the surface and the atmosphere as the control on lower-tropospheric temperatures. The adapted model included the synergism of the air mass–snow cover relationship through time, incorporating the natural feedback process.

Simulation of surface air temperatures within four cold air masses over snow cover of different albedo values and depths led to several conclusions. In testing the effects of snow albedo, results indicate 1) mean daytime air temperatures 3°–6°C higher and maximum daytime air temperatures 7°–12°C higher over snow with an albedo equal to 0.50 compared to 0.90, as a consequence of differences in sensible heat flux, and ultimately, absorbed solar radiation, and 2) little thermal inertia and therefore little difference in subsequent nighttime airmass temperatures over snow with an albedo of 0.50 compared to 0.90. In testing the effects of snow depth, results indicate 1) little difference in daytime air temperatures associated with a snow depth of 2.5 cm compared to 15.0 or 30.0 cm, 2) an increase in mean nighttime temperatures of 0.2°–0.7°C over a snow depth of 2.5 cm compared to either of the larger depths, and 3) a masking of the underlying bare soil surfaces by the snow depths of 15.0 and 30.0 cm and virtually no difference in airmass temperatures over the two snow depths.

The potential utility of the results of this study lies in their application as additional guidance for temperature forecasts within wintertime cold air masses over, and downstream from, snow cover across the U.S. Great Plains. Likewise, this study illustrates the importance of the various components of the heat balance between the lower atmosphere and snow cover as based on the physical characteristics of the snowpack, which could prove beneficial in considerations of snow cover in weather and climate models.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Andrew W. Ellis, Department of Geography, Arizona State University, Box 870104, Tempe, AZ 85287-0104.

andrew.w.ellis.@asu.edu

Save