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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Snowpack Energy Exchange: Topographic and Forest Effects

Authors
item Dewalle, David - PENN STATE UNIV
item Rango, Albert

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2008
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
Citation: Dewalle, D., Rango, A. 2008. Snowpack energy exchange: topographic and forest effects. In: Dewalle, D., Rango, A., editors. Principles of Snow Hydrology. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press. p. 182-210.

Interpretive Summary: No interpretive summary required.

Technical Abstract: Recent innovations in computing techniques and the need for modeling snowpack energy exchange processes for large diverse basins have lead to consideration of topographic and forest effects. Both topography and forests can have a major impact on snowpack radiation energy exchange. Effects on convective exchange are less well known. Methods for adjusting the basic theory of snowpack energy exchange for the effects of topography and forests are considered in this chapter. Latent heat and sensible heat convection were much lower in the forest than in the open due to reduced wind speeds. Net radiation was the dominant snowpack energy budget component at both the open and forest sites. Net radiation was reduced by about 20% by the forest relative to the open, based upon regression analysis of hourly data. Because of overall differences in net radiation and total energy supply to the snowpack, daily snowmelt rates in the forest were reduced by 15-60% compared to melt at the open site. Results of this study illustrate how forest cover can reduce the snowpack energy supply and how more humid conditions can increase the importance of latent heat convection as a source of melt energy.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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