Influence of dust and black carbon on the snow albedo in the NASA Goddard Earth Observing System version 5 land surface model

Teppei J. Yasunari, Randal D. Koster, K. M. Lau, Teruo Aoki, Yogesh C. Sud, Takeshi Yamazaki, Hiroki Motoyoshi, Yuji Kodama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Present-day land surface models rarely account for the influence of both black carbon and dust in the snow on the snow albedo. Snow impurities increase the absorption of incoming shortwave radiation (particularly in the visible bands), whereby they have major consequences for the evolution of snowmelt and life cycles of snowpack. A new parameterization of these snow impurities was included in the catchment-based land surface model used in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Earth Observing System version 5. Validation tests against in situ observed data were performed for the winter of 2003-2004 in Sapporo, Japan, for both the new snow albedo parameterization (which explicitly accounts for snow impurities) and the preexisting baseline albedo parameterization (which does not). Validation tests reveal that daily variations of snow depth and snow surface albedo are more realistically simulated with the new parameterization. Reasonable perturbations in the assigned snow impurity concentrations, as inferred from the observational data, produce significant changes in snowpack depth and radiative flux interactions. These findings illustrate the importance of parameterizing the influence of snow impurities on the snow surface albedo for proper simulation of the life cycle of snow cover.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberD02210
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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