Antarctic Science

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Antarctic Science (2010), 22:87-96 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2009

Physical Sciences

Surface energy balance, melt and sublimation at Neumayer Station, East Antarctica

Michiel van den Broekea1 c1, Gert König-Langloa2, Ghislain Picarda3, Peter Kuipers Munnekea1 and Jan Lenaertsa1

a1 Utrecht University, Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU), The Netherlands
a2 Alfred Wegener Institute for Marine and Polar Research (AWI), Bremerhaven, Germany
a3 Laboratoire de Glaciologie et de Géophysique de l’Environnement (LGGE), Grenoble, France
Article author query
van den broeke m [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
könig-langlo g [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
picard g [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
kuipers munneke p [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
lenaerts j [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


A surface energy balance model is forced by 13 years of high-quality hourly observations from the Antarctic coastal station Neumayer. The model accurately reproduces observed surface temperatures. Surface sublimation is significant in summer, when absorbed solar radiation heats the surface. Including a first order estimate of snowdrift sublimation in the calculation more than triples the total sublimation, removing 19% of the solid precipitation, indicating that snowdrift sublimation is potentially important for the mass balance of Antarctic ice shelves. Surface melt occurs at Neumayer in all summers, but all the meltwater refreezes. In two-thirds of the cases, the refreezing is quasi-instantaneous (within the model timestep of 6 min), so that no liquid water remains in the snow. For all other events, the occurrence of liquid water in the snowpack at Neumayer agrees well with satellite-based liquid water detection.

(Received May 31 2009)

(Accepted August 17 2009)

(Online publication November 11 2009)

Key wordssolar radiation; snowpack; surface temperatures