Sept 14, 2012: Another important new dust science article just out
Greetings from Silverton -
As it happens, the Painter team had another new article just on the verge of publication when I sent out my previous note on recent research articles.
Geophysical Research Letters has just published (this week) an article by Painter, Bryant and Skiles titled: Radiative forcing by light absorbing impurities in snow from MODIS surface reflectance data. The article abstract is available at: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2012GL052457.shtml
Their article describes the development of a "MODDRFS" model which interprets MODIS satellite data to estimate radiative forcing by "light absorbing impurities" in snow and ice. The model has been initially demonstrated using MODIS retrievals over the Himalaya and over the Upper Colorado River Basin. MODDRFS estimates of radiative forcing were compared to actual ground measurements at the Senator Beck Basin Study Area, over seven seasons, and the team is highly encouraged by their results.
This effort represents an important step forward toward applying dust-on-snow science. As MODDRFS is perfected and implemented, and new and/or improved satellite sensors become operational, this tool may enable high resolution monitoring, in space and time, of reductions in snow albedo (and corresponding radiative forcings) by dust and other impurities across large expanses of Colorado's snow covered terrain during snowmelt season. Such a data stream could, then, be utilized by those modeling, forecasting, and monitoring snowmelt runoff throughout the spring, in Colorado, the greater Colorado River Basin, and elsewhere. Congratulations to these authors, and perhaps especially to PhD student Annie Bryant, whose work has contributed substantially to this article.
Chris Landry, Executive Director
Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies
PO Box 190, Silverton, CO 81433 USA