Remote Sensing of Snow and Characterization of Snow Albedo for Climate Simulations

ANNE W. NOLIN and ALLAN FREI

National Snow and Ice Data Center Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. The University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Abstract: Accurate estimates of the spatial distribution and albedo of snow cover are needed for climate models, that use surface albedo as a lower boundary condition. We perform a sensitivity study that shows how model parameteriza-tions of snow albedo affect computed snow-atmosphere fluxes. When albedo is calculated as a function of snow surface grain size, the variable albedo is significantly more realistic and representative than constant albedo values. We then describe new and planned satellite-derived products that will monitor seasonal changes in snow extent and albedo and have particular relevance to the climate modeling community.

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