Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Atmospheric Sciences

First Advisor

Aaron Kennedy


Blowing snow is common in polar regions. Blowing snow and associated sublimation influence the surface energy budget and surface mass balance. For example, it is believed to play a critical role in the evolution of Arctic sea-thickness by reducing the amount of snow accumulated on the sea-ice surface, which is a pressing issue with the Arctic Amplification. Currently, most models do not include blowing snow as there has not been widespread validation of blowing snow parameterizations. Fortunately, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurements (ARM) North Slope Alaska (NSA) site located in Utqiaġvik, Alaska contains instrumentation that allows for the detection of this process. There are two objectives for this study. The first goal is to use particle size distribution (PSD) data from the Precipitation Imaging Package (PIP) and the Laser Precipitation Monitor (LPM) to identify periods of blowing snow at ARM NSA. This information is coupled to surface meteorological data to understand when blowing snow occurs. From this initial study, a long-term record of blowing snow frequency will be developed for the history of the NSA site. The second objective will identify meteorological regimes associated with blowing snow events. Synoptic patterns will be classified with Self Organizing Maps (SOMs). Collectively, this will give a climatology of blowing snow from January 1979 to February of 2022 for NSA. This study will determine the ability of the SOMs to classify weather patterns of specific atmospheric processes. Determining the weather patterns associated with blowing snow will allow for thorough validation of other modeling efforts. Eventually, this will lead to ample knowledge to confidently incorporate these schemes into weather and climate models. This will allow for better forecasting of reduced visibility conditions and allow for the inclusion of blowing snow in models that evaluate sea-ice evolution.