A Comparison of Frost Depth Estimates from Ground Observations and Modelling Using Measured Values and Reanalysis Data for Vehicle Mobility
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER HANOVER NH HANOVER United States
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Frozen soils can withstand heavy vehicle loads and provide major maneuver corridors in locations where the soils are otherwise too weak to support the loading conditions. Vehicle mobility models require input of the ground conditions to assess seasonal traffickability. Increasingly, measured air temperatures from weather station locations are becoming more widespread, however they lack a global gridded coverage. Similarly, ground profile measurements, such as soil temperature and moisture, are significant inputs to estimate depths of frost. New data products, such as gridded reanalysis data provides weather and soil data on a gridded global scale. This study compared frost depths determined from measured soil temperatures at stations in North Dakota and Minnesota with frost depths determined from soil temperatures from NASAs Modern Era Retrospective Analysis for Research Application Version 2 MERRA-2. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the usefulness of the MERRA-2 data to provide estimates of frost depth, and to determine the accuracy of estimated frost depths from modelling using either measured air temperatures or reanalysis air temperature data. To estimate the maximum frost depth a one-dimensional decoupled heat and moisture flow model was used. Differences in estimated frost depth resulted from modelling when compared to the measured soil temperatures. These differences are likely due to the influence of a snow layer. The properties of the snow layer play an important role in estimating the depth of frost. Improved material properties of the snow layer are needed to more accurately estimate the depth of ground freezing.
- Snow, Ice and Permafrost
- Soil Mechanics