Various field observations of surface-hoar formation were carried out with measurements of vapor sublimation rate and meteorological conditions from 1994 to 1996 in a mountainous area of northern Hokkaido,Japan. The sublimation rate seemed to increase with wind speed when the relative humidity was high, whereas the sublimation rate changed from positive to negative as the wind speed increased when the relative humidity was low (60–70%RH). These results were explained with a numerical model (called the Simple model) for the heat balance at the snow surface; the results of the model showed that there is a specific wind speed which maximizes the sublimation rate when the relative humidity is low, and indicated that the sublimation rate becomes large under humid conditions (>90%RH) and if wind speeds are increasing in the range 0.5–3.5 m s–1. The heat balance at the snow surface reproduced by another snow model, Crocus, agreed well with the observation results. However, Crocus overestimated the sublimation rate by about 1.3 × 10–6 kg m–2s–1 when surface hoar formed, and underestimated snow surface temperature by several degrees.
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