Monday, February 26, 2018

NIF surface, mid-February

Here is the Northern Icefield surface on 15 February, courtesy of Thomas Lämmle (EXTREK-africa). Our two UMass weather stations are visible on either side of the guides, with Mt. Meru in the background.

This image is particularly useful in documenting the glacier surface. Beneath the 2 ultrasonic snow sensors the surface is uniformly flat, with minor penitentes resulting from ablation of January accumulation. Therefore, further changes in height recorded at the station should be nicely representative of accumulation/ablation changes over a larger area.

Since our fieldwork in early October, net lowering of the surface has been ~15 cm. The current glacier surface at the AWS appears to be comprised of transformed seasonal snow, which is considerably brighter (i.e., higher albedo) than the immediately underlying ice.

Further ablation and lowering of the glacier surface will be determined by when the long rains begin, which typically occurs early in March.

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