Understanding how the presence of a forest canopy influences the underlying snowpack is critical to making accurate model predictions of bulk snow density and snow water equivalent (SWE). To investigate the relative importance of forest processes on snow density and SWE, we applied the SUMMA model at three sites representing diverse snow climates in Colorado (USA), Oregon (USA), and Alberta (Canada) for 5 years. First, control simulations were run for open and forest sites. Comparisons to observations showed the uncalibrated model with NLDAS‐2 forcing performed reasonably. Then, experiments were completed to isolate how forest processes affected modelled snowpack density and SWE, including: (1) mass reduction due to interception loss, (2) changes in the phase and amount of water delivered from the canopy to the underlying snow, (3) varying new snow density from reduced wind speed, and (4) modification of incoming longwave and shortwave radiation. Delivery effects (2) increased forest snowpack density relative to open areas, often more than 30%. Mass effects (1) and wind effects (3) decreased forest snowpack density, but generally by less than 6%. The radiation experiment (4) yielded negligible to positive effects (i.e., 0%–10%) on snowpack density. Delivery effects on density were greatest at the warmest times in the season and at the warmest site (Oregon): higher temperatures increased interception and melted intercepted snow, which then dripped to the underlying snowpack. In contrast, mass effects and radiation effects were shown to have the greatest impact on forest‐to‐open SWE differences, yielding differences greater than 30%. The study highlights the importance of delivery effects in models and the need for new types of observations to characterize how canopies influence the flux of water to the snow surface.
Snowpack accumulation in forested watersheds depends on the amount of snow intercepted in the canopy and its partitioning into sublimation, unloading, and melt. A lack of canopy snow measurements limits our ability to evaluate models that simulate canopy processes and predict snowpack. We tested whether monitoring changes in wind‐induced tree sway is a viable technique for detecting snow interception and quantifying canopy snow water equivalent (SWE). Over a 6 year period in Colorado, we monitored hourly sway of two conifers, each instrumented with an accelerometer sampling at 12 Hz. We developed an approach to distinguish changes in sway frequency due to thermal effects on tree rigidity versus intercepted snow mass. Over 60% of days with canopy snow had a sway signal that could not be distinguished from thermal effects. However, larger changes in tree sway could not generally be attributed to thermal effects, and canopy snow was present 93%–95% of the time, as confirmed with classified PhenoCam imagery. Using sway tests, we converted changes in sway to canopy SWE, which were correlated with total snowstorm amounts from a nearby SNOTEL site (Spearman
- Award ID(s):
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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- Water Resources Research
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Sublimation is an important hydrological flux in cold, snow‐dominated ecosystems. In high‐elevation spruce‐fir forests of western North America, spruce beetle outbreaks have killed trees, reduced the canopy, and altered processes that control sublimation. We evaluated two hypotheses related to effects of disturbance on sublimation in this ecosystem: (1) the dominant source for sublimation is canopy intercepted snow and (2) the loss of canopy following a beetle disturbance leads to less total sublimation. To incorporate uncertainty hierarchically across multiple data sources and address phenomenological parsimony, Bayesian statistics were used to analyze 17 years (2000–2016) of winter eddy covariance flux data at the Glacier Lakes Ecosystem Experiments Sites AmeriFlux sites where a spruce beetle outbreak caused 75–85% basal area mortality. Our analysis revealed that resistances to sublimate snow from the canopy were an order of magnitude less than from the snowpack, and the maximum snow loading capacity in disturbed canopies was reduced to 34% of its pre‐outbreak value. Total sublimation has decreased since 2010, 2 years after the main outbreak, declining 24% (with a 95% credible interval, C.I., between 18% and 38%) during 2014–2016 due to a 32% decrease in canopy sublimation. Snowpack sublimation only increased 3% over this period. With less total sublimation, the forest retained 6.1% (4.5–12.3% C.I.) more snowpack mass or equivalently 4.4% (3.2–8.8 C.I.) of the annual precipitation. Considering tree growth and ecological succession are slow in spruce‐fir forests, this decrease in sublimation should persist as an increased snowpack for decades, with substantial impacts on catchment hydrologic processes and potentially streamflow.
Site description. This data package consists of data obtained from sampling surface soil (the 0-7.6 cm depth profile) in black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) dominated forest and black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus) saltmarsh along the Gulf of Mexico coastline in peninsular west-central Florida, USA. This location has a subtropical climate with mean daily temperatures ranging from 15.4 °C in January to 27.8 °C in August, and annual precipitation of 1336 mm. Precipitation falls as rain primarily between June and September. Tides are semi-diurnal, with 0.57 m median amplitudes during the year preceding sampling (U.S. NOAA National Ocean Service, Clearwater Beach, Florida, station 8726724). Sea-level rise is 4.0 ± 0.6 mm per year (1973-2020 trend, mean ± 95 % confidence interval, NOAA NOS Clearwater Beach station). The A. germinans mangrove zone is either adjacent to water or fringed on the seaward side by a narrow band of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle). A near-monoculture of J. roemerianus is often adjacent to and immediately landward of the A. germinans zone. The transition from the mangrove to the J. roemerianus zone is variable in our study area. An abrupt edge between closed-canopy mangrove and J. roemerianus monoculture may extend for up to several hundred meters in some locations, while other stretches of ecotone present a gradual transition where smaller, widely spaced trees are interspersed into the herbaceous marsh. Juncus roemerianus then extends landward to a high marsh patchwork of succulent halophytes (including Salicornia bigellovi, Sesuvium sp., and Batis maritima), scattered dwarf mangrove, and salt pans, followed in turn by upland vegetation that includes Pinus sp. and Serenoa repens. Field design and sample collection. We established three study sites spaced at approximately 5 km intervals along the western coastline of the central Florida peninsula. The sites consisted of the Salt Springs (28.3298°, -82.7274°), Energy Marine Center (28.2903°, -82.7278°), and Green Key (28.2530°, -82.7496°) sites on the Gulf of Mexico coastline in Pasco County, Florida, USA. At each site, we established three plot pairs, each consisting of one saltmarsh plot and one mangrove plot. Plots were 50 m^2 in size. Plots pairs within a site were separated by 230-1070 m, and the mangrove and saltmarsh plots composing a pair were 70-170 m apart. All plot pairs consisted of directly adjacent patches of mangrove forest and J. roemerianus saltmarsh, with the mangrove forests exhibiting a closed canopy and a tree architecture (height 4-6 m, crown width 1.5-3 m). Mangrove plots were located at approximately the midpoint between the seaward edge (water-mangrove interface) and landward edge (mangrove-marsh interface) of the mangrove zone. Saltmarsh plots were located 20-25 m away from any mangrove trees and into the J. roemerianus zone (i.e., landward from the mangrove-marsh interface). Plot pairs were coarsely similar in geomorphic setting, as all were located on the Gulf of Mexico coastline, rather than within major sheltering formations like Tampa Bay, and all plot pairs fit the tide-dominated domain of the Woodroffe classification (Woodroffe, 2002, "Coasts: Form, Process and Evolution", Cambridge University Press), given their conspicuous semi-diurnal tides. There was nevertheless some geomorphic variation, as some plot pairs were directly open to the Gulf of Mexico while others sat behind keys and spits or along small tidal creeks. Our use of a plot-pair approach is intended to control for this geomorphic variation. Plot center elevations (cm above mean sea level, NAVD 88) were estimated by overlaying the plot locations determined with a global positioning system (Garmin GPS 60, Olathe, KS, USA) on a LiDAR-derived bare-earth digital elevation model (Dewberry, Inc., 2019). The digital elevation model had a vertical accuracy of ± 10 cm (95 % CI) and a horizontal accuracy of ± 116 cm (95 % CI). Soil samples were collected via coring at low tide in June 2011. From each plot, we collected a composite soil sample consisting of three discrete 5.1 cm diameter soil cores taken at equidistant points to 7.6 cm depth. Cores were taken by tapping a sleeve into the soil until its top was flush with the soil surface, sliding a hand under the core, and lifting it up. Cores were then capped and transferred on ice to our laboratory at the University of South Florida (Tampa, Florida, USA), where they were combined in plastic zipper bags, and homogenized by hand into plot-level composite samples on the day they were collected. A damp soil subsample was immediately taken from each composite sample to initiate 1 y incubations for determination of active C and N (see below). The remainder of each composite sample was then placed in a drying oven (60 °C) for 1 week with frequent mixing of the soil to prevent aggregation and liberate water. Organic wetland soils are sometimes dried at 70 °C, however high drying temperatures can volatilize non-water liquids and oxidize and decompose organic matter, so 50 °C is also a common drying temperature for organic soils (Gardner 1986, "Methods of Soil Analysis: Part 1", Soil Science Society of America); we accordingly chose 60 °C as a compromise between sufficient water removal and avoidance of non-water mass loss. Bulk density was determined as soil dry mass per core volume (adding back the dry mass equivalent of the damp subsample removed prior to drying). Dried subsamples were obtained for determination of soil organic matter (SOM), mineral texture composition, and extractable and total carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) within the following week. Sample analyses. A dried subsample was apportioned from each composite sample to determine SOM as mass loss on ignition at 550 °C for 4 h. After organic matter was removed from soil via ignition, mineral particle size composition was determined using a combination of wet sieving and density separation in 49 mM (3 %) sodium hexametaphosphate ((NaPO_3)_6) following procedures in Kettler et al. (2001, Soil Science Society of America Journal 65, 849-852). The percentage of dry soil mass composed of silt and clay particles (hereafter, fines) was calculated as the mass lost from dispersed mineral soil after sieving (0.053 mm mesh sieve). Fines could have been slightly underestimated if any clay particles were burned off during the preceding ignition of soil. An additional subsample was taken from each composite sample to determine extractable N and organic C concentrations via 0.5 M potassium sulfate (K_2SO_4) extractions. We combined soil and extractant (ratio of 1 g dry soil:5 mL extractant) in plastic bottles, reciprocally shook the slurry for 1 h at 120 rpm, and then gravity filtered it through Fisher G6 (1.6 μm pore size) glass fiber filters, followed by colorimetric detection of nitrite (NO_2^-) + nitrate (NO_3^-) and ammonium (NH_4^+) in the filtrate (Hood Nowotny et al., 2010,Soil Science Society of America Journal 74, 1018-1027) using a microplate spectrophotometer (Biotek Epoch, Winooski, VT, USA). Filtrate was also analyzed for dissolved organic C (referred to hereafter as extractable organic C) and total dissolved N via combustion and oxidation followed by detection of the evolved CO_2 and N oxide gases on a Formacs HT TOC/TN analyzer (Skalar, Breda, The Netherlands). Extractable organic N was then computed as total dissolved N in filtrate minus extractable mineral N (itself the sum of extractable NH_4-N and NO_2-N + NO_3-N). We determined soil total C and N from dried, milled subsamples subjected to elemental analysis (ECS 4010, Costech, Inc., Valencia, CA, USA) at the University of South Florida Stable Isotope Laboratory. Median concentration of inorganic C in unvegetated surface soil at our sites is 0.5 % of soil mass (Anderson, 2019, Univ. of South Florida M.S. thesis via methods in Wang et al., 2011, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 174, 241-257). Inorganic C concentrations are likely even lower in our samples from under vegetation, where organic matter would dilute the contribution of inorganic C to soil mass. Nevertheless, the presence of a small inorganic C pool in our soils may be counted in the total C values we report. Extractable organic C is necessarily of organic C origin given the method (sparging with HCl) used in detection. Active C and N represent the fractions of organic C and N that are mineralizable by soil microorganisms under aerobic conditions in long-term soil incubations. To quantify active C and N, 60 g of field-moist soil were apportioned from each composite sample, placed in a filtration apparatus, and incubated in the dark at 25 °C and field capacity moisture for 365 d (as in Lewis et al., 2014, Ecosphere 5, art59). Moisture levels were maintained by frequently weighing incubated soil and wetting them up to target mass. Daily CO_2 flux was quantified on 29 occasions at 0.5-3 week intervals during the incubation period (with shorter intervals earlier in the incubation), and these per day flux rates were integrated over the 365 d period to compute an estimate of active C. Observations of per day flux were made by sealing samples overnight in airtight chambers fitted with septa and quantifying headspace CO_2 accumulation by injecting headspace samples (obtained through the septa via needle and syringe) into an infrared gas analyzer (PP Systems EGM 4, Amesbury, MA, USA). To estimate active N, each incubated sample was leached with a C and N free, 35 psu solution containing micronutrients (Nadelhoffer, 1990, Soil Science Society of America Journal 54, 411-415) on 19 occasions at increasing 1-6 week intervals during the 365 d incubation, and then extracted in 0.5 M K_2SO_4 at the end of the incubation in order to remove any residual mineral N. Active N was then quantified as the total mass of mineral N leached and extracted. Mineral N in leached and extracted solutions was detected as NH_4-N and NO_2-N + NO_3-N via colorimetry as above. This incubation technique precludes new C and N inputs and persistently leaches mineral N, forcing microorganisms to meet demand by mineralizing existing pools, and thereby directly assays the potential activity of soil organic C and N pools present at the time of soil sampling. Because this analysis commences with disrupting soil physical structure, it is biased toward higher estimates of active fractions. Calculations. Non-mobile C and N fractions were computed as total C and N concentrations minus the extractable and active fractions of each element. This data package reports surface-soil constituents (moisture, fines, SOM, and C and N pools and fractions) in both gravimetric units (mass constituent / mass soil) and areal units (mass constituent / soil surface area integrated through 7.6 cm soil depth, the depth of sampling). Areal concentrations were computed as X × D × 7.6, where X is the gravimetric concentration of a soil constituent, D is soil bulk density (g dry soil / cm^3), and 7.6 is the sampling depth in cm.more » « less
Forested areas exhibit high spatial variability in the distribution of snow water equivalent (SWE). Previous work has focused on forested areas with respect to snow accumulation in adjacent clearings. There is generally less snow in forested areas with greater variability relative to open areas due to the influence of tree canopies. However, the length scale of the transition from open areas to forested conditions is uncertain. Hence, the goal of this paper is to determine the length scales associated with forest boundary effects on SWE accumulation distribution patterns within forest stands. To accomplish this, we utilize a unique ground‐penetrating radar data set collected during the NASA SnowEx campaign on Grand Mesa, Colorado, in February 2017 to determine spatial SWE distribution patterns of areas under canopy and in clearings, and the length scales of transitions between these patterns (i.e., the size of within‐stand boundary areas). We define within‐stand boundary areas as the transitional zone from a clearing to relatively stable SWE distribution, or background distribution patterns, within forest stands. The largest within‐stand boundary effect occurred on the leeward side of stands with a mean extent of 44 m, or 4.3 mean canopy heights. In contrast, windward within‐stand boundary effects showed a mean extent of 28 m, or 3.7 mean canopy heights. We present a conceptual framework of the complex wind dynamics that occur in forest stands to explain the within‐stand boundary effects on SWE distribution. Future investigations could improve understanding of this complex process and associated driving variables.
Understanding the role of trees in attenuating the timing and magnitude of effective precipitation reaching the land surface requires improved monitoring of interception dynamics. We developed a new field monitoring approach to leverage continuous monitoring of tree sway motion in quantifying continuous, dynamic time series of canopy water storage during storms. Using this approach, we additionally observed a hysteretic interception response in tree canopies, which indicates that interpreting interception processes through tree sway signals requires the consideration of changing water (i.e., mass) distribution during and following storms. These findings suggest that continuously monitoring tree sway motions offers a new technique to quantify interception processes. This advancement in whole tree interception may help improve our understanding of how interception affects ecosystem water availability/productivity and runoff dynamics that are important for both natural ecosystems and stormwater management in cities.