25 Jun 2024
 | 25 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Simulation of snow albedo and solar irradiance profile with the two-stream radiative transfer in snow (TARTES) v2.0 model

Ghislain Picard and Quentin Libois

Abstract. The Two-streAm Radiative TransfEr in Snow (TARTES) model computes the spectral albedo and the profiles of spectral absorption, irradiance and actinic fluxes for a multi-layer plane-parallel snowpack. Each snow layer is characterized by its specific surface area, density, and impurities content, in addition to shape parameters. In the landscape of snow optical numerical models, TARTES distinguishes itself by taking into account different shapes of the particles through two shape parameters, namely the absorption enhancement parameter B and the asymmetry factor g. This is of primary importance as recent studies working at the microstructure level have demonstrated that snow does not behave as a collection of equivalent ice spheres, a representation widely used in other models. Instead, B and g take specific values that do not correspond to any simple geometrical shape, which leads to the concept of "optical shape of snow". Apart from this specificity, TARTES combines well established radiative transfer principles to compute the scattering and absorption coefficients of pure or polluted snow, and the δ-Eddington two-stream approximation to solve the multi-layer radiative transfer equation. The model is implemented in Python, but conducting TARTES simulations is also possible without any programming through the SnowTARTES web application, making it very accessible to non-experts and for teaching purposes. Here, after describing the theoretical and technical details of the model, we illustrate its main capabilities and present some comparisons with other common snow radiative transfer models (AART, DISORT-Mie, SNICAR-ADv3) as a validation procedure. Overall the agreement on the spectral albedo, when in compatible conditions (i.e. with spheres), is usually within 0.02, and is better in the visible and near-infrared compared to longer wavelengths of the solar domain.

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Ghislain Picard and Quentin Libois

Status: open (until 20 Aug 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Review Comment on egusphere-2024-1176', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Jul 2024 reply
Ghislain Picard and Quentin Libois

Model code and software

TARTES pre-v2.0 source code Ghislain Picard and Quentin Libois

Interactive computing environment

Snowtartes web application Ghislain Picard

Ghislain Picard and Quentin Libois


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Short summary
TARTES is a radiative transfer model to compute the reflectivity in the solar domain (albedo), and the profiles of solar light and energy absorption in a multi-layered snowpack whose physical properties are prescribed by the user. It uniquely considers snow grain shape in a flexible way, allowing us to apply the most recent advances showing that snow does not behave as a collection of ice spheres, but instead as a random medium. TARTES is also simple but compares well with other complex models.