Snow properties evolution in a changing climate in Antarctica

The NIVO program is interested in the evolution of snow at and near the surface from time scales of hours to a few years. The aims is to understand the role of snow in the climate. The snow surface exchanges momentum, energy, water vapor (for different isotopes) with the atmosphere which gives rise to numerous feedback loops involving many processes (radiative, aerodynamic, turbulent, …). To understand and parametrize these processes and feedbacks in snow and climate models, NIVO operates a set of automated instruments and collect manual measurements in order to characterize snow in the shallow sub-surface and in depth up to tens of meters. The goal of the next four years is to investigate inter-annual variations of grain size, density, albedo, temperature and the isotopic composition, to understand the evolution of the surface roughness, to advance on the exchange of vapor for stable water isotopes, and to progress on metamorphism laws at low temperature. NIVO also aims at providing essential data on snow microstructure and ice electromagnetic properties for the calibration/validation of satellite data which in turn helps to generalize the findings from Dome C to the whole Antarctic continent.