In spite of the quite abundant literature focusing on fine debris deposition over glacier accumulation areas, less attention has been paid to the glacier melting surface. Accordingly, we proposed a novel method based on semiautomatic image analysis to estimate ice albedo from fine debris coverage (d). Our procedure was tested on the surface of a wide Alpine valley glacier (the Forni Glacier, Italy), in summer 2011, 2012 and 2013, acquiring parallel data sets of in situ measurements of ice albedo and high-resolution surface images. Analysis of 51 images yielded d values ranging from 0.01 to 0.63 and albedo was found to vary from 0.06 to 0.32. The estimated d values are in a linear relation with the natural logarithm of measured ice albedo (R D0.84). The robustness of our approach in evaluating d was analyzed through five sensitivity tests, and we found that it is largely replicable. On the Forni Glacier, we also quantified a mean debris coverage rate (Cr) equal to 6 gm2 per day during the ablation season of 2013, thus supporting previous studies that describe ongoing darkening phenomena at Alpine debris-free glaciers surface. In addition to debris coverage, we also considered the impact of water (both from melt and rainfall) as a factor that tunes albedo: meltwater occurs during the central hours of the day, decreasing the albedo due to its lower reflectivity; instead, rainfall causes a subsequent mean daily albedo increase slightly higher than 20 %, although it is short-lasting (from 1 to 4 days).
|Titolo:||Estimating ice albedo from fine debris cover quantified by a semi- automatic method : the case study of Forni Glacier, Italian Alps|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore GEO/04 - Geografia Fisica e Geomorfologia|
Settore FIS/06 - Fisica per il Sistema Terra e Il Mezzo Circumterrestre
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.5194/tc-10-665-2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|