Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Glaciology


Department of Earth Sciences


We have constrained the value for thermal diffusivity of near-surface snow and firn at Summit Station, Greenland, using a Fourier-type analysis applied to hourly temperature measurements collected from eight thermistors in a closed-off, air-filled borehole between May 2004 and July 2008. An implicit, finite-difference method suggests that a bulk diffusivity of ∼25 ± 3m2 a−1 is the most reasonable for representing macroscale heat transport in the top 30 m of firn and snow. This value represents an average diffusivity and, in a conduction-only model, generates temperature series whose phase shifts with depth most closely match those of the Summit borehole data (rms difference between measurements and model output is ∼6 days). This bulk value, derived numerically and corroborated analytically, is useful over large tracts of the Greenland ice sheet where density and microstructure are unknown.



Included in

Glaciology Commons