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Theses

Observation et simulation de la température de surface en Antarctique : application à l'estimation de la densité superficielle de la neige

Abstract : The antarctic ice sheet is a key element in the climate system and an archive of past climate variations. However, given the scarcity of observations due to the geographical remoteness of Antarctica and its harsh conditions, little is known about the processes that control its mass balance and energy. In this context, several studies focus on the surface temperature which controls the snow temperature up to tens, if not hundreds, of meters beneath the surface. It also influences the thermal state of the antarctic ice sheet, its dynamics, and thus, its mass balance. Surface temperature is also directly linked to the surface energy balance through its impact on thermal and surface turbulent heat flux emissions. Thus, surface temperature analysis and the study of physical processes that control surface temperature variability contribute to the better understanding of the surface energy balance, which is a necessary step to identify the actual state of the antarctic ice sheet and forecast its impact on sea level rise. This thesis work contributes to this effort by focusing on the surface temperature diurnal cycle and various factors impacting spatial and temporal surface temperature variability on the Antarctic Plateau. First, an evaluation of MODIS data, done by comparison with in situ measurements, shows MODIS great potential in the observation of the surface temperature of the Antarctic Plateau under clear-sky conditions. Hourly MODIS surface temperature data from 2000 to 2011 were then used to evaluate the accuracy of snow surface temperature in the ERA-Interim reanalysis and the temperature produced by a stand-alone simulation with the Crocus snowpack model using ERA-Interim forcing. It reveals that ERA-Interim has a widespread warm bias on the Antarctic Plateau ranging from +3 to +6°C depending on the location. Afterwards, observations of the surface temperature diurnal cycle allow an identification of the surface density as a factor of surface temperature variability. On the topmost centimeters of the snowpack where most mass and energy exchanges between the surface and atmosphere happen, density is critical for the energy budget because it impacts both the effective thermal conductivity and the penetration depth of light. However, there are considerable uncertainties around surface density spatio-temporal variability and the processes that control it. Besides, since surface density can only be measured in situ, surface density measurements in Antarctica are restricted to limited geographical areas. Thus, this thesis also explores a new application of surface temperature by estimating surface density in Antarctica based on the monotonic relation between surface density and surface temperature diurnal amplitude. A map of surface density is obtained by minimising the simulation error related to diurnal amplitude of the surface temperature.
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Hélène Fréville. Observation et simulation de la température de surface en Antarctique : application à l'estimation de la densité superficielle de la neige. Océanographie. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015TOU30368⟩. ⟨tel-01512722⟩

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