A few years ago another question touched on the relative rates of sublimation versus melting in terms of snow and snow pack disappearance.
What was unusual about the answer is the huge range of variability in the results from different studies. One study claiming only 2% of ablation was due to sublimation and another claiming almost all of it was. I vaguely remember an extensive New Zealand study (not shown in the answer) that had a result showing about half of ablation is due to irradiation (sublimation).
Has this subject been revisited by more thorough-going studies that answer the question definitively?
In my own view, it would seem that "backyard" experiments could be done on snow drifts to answer this question. In my mind there should be no one single numeric answer but rather a table which relates several factors:
- the underlying ground material and strata (sandy soil, rock, asphalt, etc)
- the air temperature
- the latitude and time (= inclination to the sun)
- surface area exposed to sun
- surface area exposed to ground
- volume of frozen accumulation
- type of frozen accumulation (dry snow, wet snow, ice)
Based on these factors it should be possible using the principles of thermodynamics and physical experiments to create tables (or equations) that define ablation in terms of these seven variables.
Has any study been done to do this computation?