Some aspects of the interaction of blowing snow
with the atmospheric boundary layer

Stephen J. Déry and Peter A. Taylor


Several possible effects of blowing snow on the atmospheric boundary layer are investigated, mostly within the general framework of the Prairie Blowing Snow Model (PBSM). The process of snow saltation and suspension are first described. Variations to the drift density profile are tested and the effects of stratification and density variation calculations are evaluated. Despite high density gradients of blowing snow, stratification effects on turbulence and the velocity profiles can generally be neglected. However, with saltating or suspended snow in a constant shear stress layer, part of the shear stress is carried by the particles. A highly simplified, single-phase approach, based on the density variation of the air-snow mixture coupled to a simple turbulent stress-strain relationship, is used to illustrate this. Sublimation rates in a column of blowing snow are calculated using the PBSM and results are compared with those obtained with a modified formulation which incorporates a spectrum of sublimating particles of varying sizes at each height in a steady-state surface boundary layer and different specifications of the ventilation velocity.