Evaluation of the albedo parameterization of the Canadian Lake Ice Model and MODIS albedo products during the ice cover season
Svacina, Nicolas, Andreas
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Snow and lake ice have very high albedos compared to other surfaces found in nature. Surface albedo is an important component of the surface energy budget especially when albedos are high since albedo governs how much shortwave radiation is absorbed or reflected at a surface. In particular, snow and lake ice albedos have been shown to affect the timing of lake ice break-up. Lakes are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere and lake ice has been shown to be sensitive to climatic variability. Therefore, the modelling of lake ice phenology, using lake ice models such as the Canadian Lake Ice Model (CLIMo), is important to the study of climatic variability in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions and accurate snow and lake ice albedo measurements are required to ensure the accuracy of the simulations. However, snow and lake ice albedo can vary from day-to-day depending on factors such as air temperature, presence of impurities, age, and composition. Some factors are more difficult than others to model (e.g. presence of impurities). It would be more straight forward to just gather field measurements, but such measurements would be costly and lakes can be in remote locations and difficult to access. Instead, CLIMo contains an albedo parameterization scheme that models the evolution of snow and lake ice albedo in its simulations. However, parts of the albedo parameterization are based on sea-ice observations (which inherently have higher albedos due to brine inclusions) and the albedo parameterization does not take ice type (e.g. clear ice or snow ice) into account. Satellite remote sensing via the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) provides methods for retrieving albedo that may help enhance CLIMo’s albedo parameterization. CLIMo’s albedo parameterization as well the MODIS daily albedo products (MOD10A1 and MYD10A1) and 16-day product (MCD43A3) were evaluated against in situ albedo observations made over Malcolm Ramsay Lake near Churchill, Manitoba, during the winter of 2012. It was found that the snow albedo parameterization of CLIMo performs well when compared to average in situ observations, but the bare ice parameterization overestimated bare ice albedo observations. The MODIS albedo products compared well when evaluated against the in situ albedo observations and were able to capture changes in albedo throughout the study period. The MODIS albedo products were also compared against CLIMo’s melting ice parameterization, because the equipment had to be removed from the lake to prevent it from falling into the water during the melt season. Cloud cover interfered with the MODIS observations, but the comparison suggests that MODIS albedo products retrieved higher albedo values than the melting ice parameterization of CLIMo. The MODIS albedo products were then integrated directly into CLIMo in substitution of the albedo parameterization to see if they could enhance break-up date (ice off) simulations. MODIS albedo retrievals (MOD10A1, MYD10A1, and MCD43A3) were collected over Back Bay, Great Slave Lake (GSL) near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, from 2000-2011. CLIMo was then run with and without the MODIS albedos integrated and compared against MODIS observed break-up dates. Simulations were also run under three difference snow cover scenarios (0%, 68%, and 100% snow cover). It was found that CLIMo without MODIS albedos performed better with the 0% snow cover scenario than with the MODIS albedos integrated in. Both simulations (with and without MODIS albedos) performed well with the snow cover scenarios. The MODIS albedo products slightly improved CLIMo break-up simulations when integrated up to a month in advance of actual lake ice break-up for Back Bay. With the MODIS albedo products integrated into CLIMo, break-up dates were simulated within 3-4 days of MODIS observed break-up. CLIMo without the MODIS albedos still performed very well simulating break-up within 4-5 days of MODIS observed break-up. It is uncertain whether this was a significant improvement or not with such a small study period and with the investigation being conducted at a single site (Back Bay). However, it has been found that CLIMo performs well with the original albedo parameterization and that MODIS albedos could potentially complement lake-wide break-up simulations in future studies.