Articles | Volume 14, issue 5
Research article
31 May 2018
Research article |  | 31 May 2018

The importance of snow albedo for ice sheet evolution over the last glacial cycle

Matteo Willeit and Andrey Ganopolski

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Cited articles

Abe-Ouchi, A., Segawa, T., and Saito, F.: Climatic Conditions for modelling the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets throughout the ice age cycle, Clim. Past, 3, 423–438,, 2007. 
Aoki, T., Kuchiki, K., Niwano, M., Kodama, Y., Hosaka, M., and Tanaka, T.: Physically based snow albedo model for calculating broadband albedos and the solar heating profile in snowpack for general circulation models, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 116, 1–22,, 2011. 
Bauer, E. and Ganopolski, A.: Aeolian dust modeling over the past four glacial cycles with CLIMBER-2, Glob. Planet. Change, 74, 49–60,, 2010. 
Bauer, E. and Ganopolski, A.: Sensitivity simulations with direct shortwave radiative forcing by aeolian dust during glacial cycles, Clim. Past, 10, 1333–1348,, 2014. 
Bauer, E. and Ganopolski, A.: Comparison of surface mass balance of ice sheets simulated by positive-degree-day method and energy balance approach, Clim. Past, 13, 819–832,, 2017. 
Short summary
The surface energy and mass balance of ice sheets strongly depends on surface albedo. Here, using an Earth system model of intermediate complexity, we explore the role played by surface albedo for the simulation of glacial cycles. We show that the evolution of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets over the last glacial cycle is very sensitive to the parameterization of snow grain size and the effect of dust deposition on snow albedo.