Albedo

Measuring spectral albedo on sea ice along a transect (Photo: AWI Meereisphysik)
Melt pond on Arctic sea ice (Photo: Marcel Nicolaus)

 

Surface albedo of ice-covered regions in the Arctic and Antarctic mostly depends on the thickness and properties of the snow cover. Due to this, albedo has a strong annual variability. But this is also strongly related to a high spatial variability, particularly during summer when melt water (of snow and sea ice) accumulates on Arctic sea ice and forms melt ponds. These bluish areas absorb much more energy (solar radiation) than the white ice around it.  

We study the spatial variability of surface albedo along transects over Arctic sea ice, but also with autonomous stations, recording time series that reveal seasonal changes.