19 Oct 2022
 | 19 Oct 2022

Strategies for Regional Modelling of Surface Mass Balance at the Monte Sarmiento Massif, Tierra del Fuego

Franziska Temme, David Farías-Barahona, Thorsten Seehaus, Ricardo Jaña, Jorge Arigony-Neto, Inti Gonzalez, Anselm Arndt, Tobias Sauter, Christoph Schneider, and Johannes Jakob Fürst

Abstract. This study investigates strategies for melt model calibration in the Monte Sarmiento Massif (MSM), Tierra del Fuego, with the goal to achieve realistic simulations of the regional surface mass balance (SMB). Applied calibration strategies range from a local single-glacier calibration to a regional calibration with the inclusion of a snowdrift parametrization. We apply four SMB models of different complexity. This way, we examine the model transferability in space, the benefit of regional mass change observations and the advantage of increasing the complexity level regarding included processes. Measurements include ablation and ice thickness observations at Schiaparelli Glacier as well as elevation changes and flow velocity from satellite data for the entire study site. Performance of simulated SMB is validated against geodetic mass changes and stake observations of surface melting. Results show that transferring SMB models in space is a challenge, and common practices can produce distinctly biased estimates. Model performance can be significantly improved by the use of remotely sensed regional observations. Furthermore, we have shown that snowdrift does play an important role for the SMB in the Cordillera Darwin, where strong and consistent winds prevail. The massif-wide average annual SMB between 2000 and 2022 falls between -0.25 and -0.07 m w.e. yr-1, depending on the applied model. SMB is mainly controlled by surface melting and snowfall. The model intercomparison does not indicate one obviously best-suited model for SMB simulations in the MSM.

Franziska Temme et al.

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Franziska Temme et al.

Franziska Temme et al.


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Short summary
Calibration of surface mass balance (SMB) models on regional scales is challenging. We investigate different calibration strategies with the goal to achieve realistic simulations of the SMB in the Monte Sarmiento Massif, Tierra del Fuego. Our results show that the performance can be improved by the use of regional observations from satellite data. Furthermore, we compare four melt models of different complexity to understand the benefit of increasing included processes.