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A Novel Integrated Method to Describe Dust and Fine Supraglacial Debris and Their Effects on Ice Albedo: the Case Study of Forni Glacier, Italian Alps : Volume 8, Issue 3 (13/06/2014)

By Azzoni, R. S.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004023044
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 36
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: A Novel Integrated Method to Describe Dust and Fine Supraglacial Debris and Their Effects on Ice Albedo: the Case Study of Forni Glacier, Italian Alps : Volume 8, Issue 3 (13/06/2014)  
Author: Azzoni, R. S.
Volume: Vol. 8, Issue 3
Language: English
Subject: Science, Cryosphere, Discussions
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Zerboni, A., Maugeri, M., Senese, A., Azzoni, R. S., Smiraglia, C., & Diolaiuti, G. A. (2014). A Novel Integrated Method to Describe Dust and Fine Supraglacial Debris and Their Effects on Ice Albedo: the Case Study of Forni Glacier, Italian Alps : Volume 8, Issue 3 (13/06/2014). Retrieved from

Description: Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra A. Desio, Milan, Italy. We investigated the characteristics of sparse and fine debris coverage at the glacier melting surface and its relation to ice albedo. In spite of the abundant literature dealing with dust and black carbon deposition on glacier accumulation areas (i.e.: on snow and firn), few studies that describe the distribution and properties of fine and discontinuous debris and black carbon at the melting surface of glaciers are available. Furthermore, guidelines are needed to standardize field samplings and lab analyses thus permitting comparisons among different glaciers. We developed a protocol to (i) sample fine and sparse supraglacial debris and dust, (ii) quantify their surface coverage and the covering rate, (iii) describe composition and sedimentological properties, (iv) measure ice albedo and (v) identify the relationship between ice albedo and fine debris coverage. The procedure was tested on the Forni Glacier surface (northern Italy), in summer 2011, 2012 and 2013, when the fine debris and dust presence had marked variability in space and time (along the glacier tongue and from the beginning to the end of summer) thus influencing ice albedo: in particular the natural logarithm of albedo was found to depend on the percentage of glacier surface covered by debris. Debris and dust analyses indicate generally a local origin (from nesting rockwalls) and the organic content was locally high. Nevertheless the finding of some cenospheres suggests an anthropic contribution to the superficial dust as well. Moreover, the effect of liquid precipitation on ice albedo was not negligible, but short lasting (from 1 to 4 day long), thus indicating that also other processes affect ice albedo and ice melt rates and then some attention has to be spent analysing frequency and duration of summer rainfalls for better describing albedo and melt variability.

A novel integrated method to describe dust and fine supraglacial debris and their effects on ice albedo: the case study of Forni Glacier, Italian Alps

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