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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Point Simulation of Seasonal Snowcover Dynamics Beneath Boreal Forest Canopies

Authors
item Link, Timothy - OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
item Marks, Daniel

Submitted to: Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 15, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The accurate simulation of snowpack deposition and ablation beneath forested areas is confounded by the fact that the vegetation canopy strongly affects the snow surface energy balance. Data collected as part of the BOREAS experiment are used to derive a series of simple canopy adjustments, and drive a 2-layer coupled energy-and mass-balance snowmelt model to simulate the deposition and ablation of the seasonal snowpack at six sites within the Canadian boreal forest for the 1994- 1995 snow season. Results of the snowcover simulations indicate that the net snowcover energy balance remains close to zero for the winter months, but exhibits a sharp increase in the spring months. The rapid energy gain in the spring is strongly controlled by canopy cover, and is dominated by net radiation fluxes. Model outputs at all sites generally show good agreement with measured snow depths, indicating that the techniques used in these investigations accurately simulate both the deposition and ablation of seasonal snowcovers. Seasonal snowcovers in the boreal environment may be more sensitive to land-use transitions, rather than climate shifts, due to the strong control exerted by vegetation canopies on radiation transfer processes.

Technical Abstract: The accurate simulation of snowpack deposition and ablation beneath forested areas is confounded by the fact that the vegetation canopy strongly affects the snow surface energy balance. Data collected as part of the BOREAS experiment are used to derive a series of simple canopy adjustments, and drive a 2-layer coupled energy-and mass-balance snowmelt model to simulate the deposition and ablation of the seasonal snowpack at six sites within the Canadian boreal forest for the 1994- 1995 snow season. Results of the snowcover simulations indicate that the net snowcover energy balance remains close to zero for the winter months, but exhibits a sharp increase in the spring months. The rapid energy gain in the spring is strongly controlled by canopy cover, and is dominated by net radiation fluxes. Model outputs at all sites generally show good agreement with measured snow depths, indicating that the techniques used in these investigations accurately simulate both the deposition and ablation of seasonal snowcovers. Seasonal snowcovers in the boreal environment may be more sensitive to land-use transitions, rather than climate shifts, due to the strong control exerted by vegetation canopies on radiation transfer processes.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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