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Characteristics of white spots in saturated wet snow

  • Takao Kameda (a1), Yasuhiro Harada (a2) and Shuhei Takahashi (a1)
Abstract

Many curious white spots of 1–10 cm diameter were found on wet snow (~10 mm thick) on the morning of 1 November 2009 in Kitami and Oketo in Hokkaido, Japan. At first glance, the white spots appeared to be made of spherically gathered snow; however, they had actually been formed by the scattering of sunlight over wet snow. Thin air bubbles enclosed in the wet snow caused a diffuse reflection of sunlight and formed the white spots. We refer to this phenomenon as white spotted wet snow. Although this type of snow has been briefly described previously, the formation process, meteorological conditions that lead to its formation, its vertical structure and the horizontal distribution of the white spots are unknown. Our study addresses these issues. In addition, three independent methods (a nearest-neighbour method, Voronoi diagram and two-dimensional correlation function) demonstrate that the white spots are not randomly distributed but tend to be surrounded by six other spots.

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References
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Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-glaciology
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