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Topoclimatic Studies of a High Arctic Plateau Ice Cap
Journal of Glaciology (1987)
  • Raymond S Bradley, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • Mark C. Serreze
Meteorological observations on and around a small, exposed plateau ice cap on north-eastern Ellesmere Island, N.W.T., Canada, were carried out in the northern summers of 1982 and 1983. The objective was to assess the effect of the ice cap on local climate as the melt season progressed. In 1982, seasonal net radiation totals were lowest on the ice cap and greatest at the site farthest from the ice cap. The ice-cap site received only 35% of net radiation totals on the surrounding tundra. This reflects a gradient in albedo; albedo changed most markedly away from the ice cap as the summer progressed. A thermal gradient was observed along a transect perpendicular to the ice-cap edge; this gradient was greatest at low levels (I5 cm) and was maximized under cloud-free conditions. The "cooling effect" of the ice cap was less at the start of the ablation season than later. Low-level inversions occurred more frequently over the ice cap than over the snow-free tundra. Overall, melting degree days on the ice cap were only 40-65% of those on the adjacent tundra. A model of interactions between the atmosphere and a snow and ice cover, or a snow-free tundra/felsenmeer surface is proposed. Observations indicate that the ice cap has a cooling effect on the lower atmosphere relative to the adjacent snow-free tundra; this effect is absent when snow cover is extensive (as in 1983).
Publication Date
Citation Information
Raymond S Bradley and Mark C. Serreze. "Topoclimatic Studies of a High Arctic Plateau Ice Cap" Journal of Glaciology Vol. 33 Iss. 114 (1987)
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