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Lee, WL; Liou, KN (2012). Effect of absorbing aerosols on snow albedo reduction in the Sierra Nevada. ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT, 55, 425-430.

This paper investigates snow albedo changes in the Sierra Nevada Mountain area associated with potential deposition of absorbing aerosols in spring by using the snow albedo, aerosol optical depth, land surface temperature, and other relevant parameters available from the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard the NASA Terra satellite during 2000-2009. Satellite pixels with 100% snow cover have been selected to derive the monthly mean snow albedo value, along with aerosol optical depth, surface temperature, and days after snowfall in March and April to perform multiple regression analysis. We show that aerosol optical depth, which generally includes dust and black carbon over the Sierra Nevada as a result of the transpacific transport from East Asia and local sources, represents a significant parameter affecting snow albedo variation, second only to the land surface temperature change. The regression analysis illustrates that a one standard deviation increase in land surface temperature (2.2 K) and aerosol optical depth (0.044) can lead to decreases in snow albedo by 0.038 and 0.026, respectively. This study also shows that approximately 26% of snow albedo reduction from March to April over the Sierra Nevada is caused by an increase in aerosol optical depth, which has a profound impact on available water resources in California. However, the results show that there are no significant trends for snow albedo, surface temperature, and aerosol optical depth of snow-covered areas over the Sierra Nevada Mountain area in this 10-year period. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.



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