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  1. Abstract. Light transmission into bare glacial ice affects surfaceenergy balance, biophotochemistry, and light detection and ranging (lidar)laser elevation measurements but has not previously been reported for theGreenland Ice Sheet. We present measurements of spectral transmittance at350–900 nm in bare glacial ice collected at a field site in the westernGreenland ablation zone (67.15∘ N, 50.02∘ W). Empirical irradianceattenuation coefficients at 350–750 nm are ∼ 0.9–8.0 m−1 for ice at 12–124 cm depth. The absorption minimum is at∼ 390–397 nm, in agreement with snow transmissionmeasurements in Antarctica and optical mapping of deep ice at the SouthPole. From 350–530 nm, our empirical attenuation coefficients are nearly1 order of magnitude larger than theoretical values for optically pureice. The estimated absorption coefficient at 400 nm suggests the ice volumecontained a light-absorbing particle concentration equivalent to∼ 1–2 parts per billion (ppb) of black carbon, which is similar topre-industrial values found in remote polar snow. The equivalent mineraldust concentration is ∼ 300–600 ppb, which is similar to values forNorthern Hemisphere warm periods with low aeolian activity inferred from icecores. For a layer of quasi-granular white ice (weathering crust)extending from the surface to ∼ 10 cm depth, attenuationcoefficients are 1.5 to 4 times larger than for deeper bubbly ice. Owing tohigher attenuation in this layer of near-surface granular ice, opticalpenetration depth at 532 nm is 14 cmmore »(20 %) lower than asymptoticattenuation lengths for optically pure bubbly ice. In addition to thetraditional concept of light scattering on air bubbles, our results implythat the granular near-surface ice microstructure of weathering crust isan important control on radiative transfer in bare ice on the Greenland IceSheet ablation zone, and we provide new values of flux attenuation,absorption, and scattering coefficients to support model development andvalidation.« less