An intercomparison among four models of blowing snow

Jingbing Xiao, Richard Bintanja, Stephen J. Déry, Graham W. Mann and Peter A. Taylor


Four one-dimensional time-dependent blowing snow models are intercompared. These include three spectral models, PIEKTUK-T, WINDBLAST, SNOWSTORM, and the bulk version of PIEKTUK-T, PIEKTUK-B. Although the four models are based on some common physical concepts, they are developed by different groups. The structure of the models, numerical methods, meteorological field treatment and the parametrization may be different. Under an agreed standard condition, the four models generally give similar results for the thermodynamic effects of blowing snow sublimation on the atmospheric boundary layer, including an increase of relative humidity and a decrease of the ambient temperature due to blowing snow sublimation. Relative humidity predicted by SNOWSTORM is lower than those by others, which leads to a larger sublimation rate. All four models demonstrate that sublimation rates in a column of blowing snow have a single maximum with time, which illustrates self-limiting of the sublimation process of blowing snow. However, the diffusivity coefficient Km has a significant influence on the process. Sensitivity tests with PIEKTUK-T show the sublimation rate can be approximately constant with time after an initial phase if Km is a linear function with height.