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Title: Forest influences on snow accumulation and snowmelt at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, USA

Author: Penn, Colin A.; Wemple, Beverley C.; Campbell, John L.;

Date: 2012

Source: Hydrological Processes. 26: 2524-2534.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Many factors influence snow depth, water content and duration in forest ecosystems. The effects of forest cover and canopy gap geometry on snow accumulation has been well documented in coniferous forests of western North America and other regions; however, few studies have evaluated these effects on snowpack dynamics in mixed deciduous forests of the northeastern USA. We measured snow depth and water equivalent near the time of peak snowpack accumulation and, again, during snowmelt to better understand the effect of forests on snowpack properties in the northeastern USA. Surveys occurred in openings and under the forest canopy at plots with different characteristics (e.g. aspect, elevation, forest composition) within the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire, USA. Snow water equivalent (SWE) was significantly greater in openings (p = 0.021) than in forests on north-facing plots but not on south-facing plots (p = 0.318) in early March 2009. One month later, SWE was more variable but remained greater in openings on north-facing plots (p = 0.067), whereas SWE was greater (p = 0.071) under forests than in clearings on south-facing plots, where snowmelt had sufficiently progressed. During peak accumulation, SWE decreased with increasing conifer cover on north-facing plots. During the snowmelt period, SWE on south-facing plots decreased with increasing basal area, sky view factor and diameter at breast height of trees on the plots. These results have implications for spring streamflow and soil moisture in the face of changing climate conditions and land use pressures in the forests of northern New England.

Keywords: snow distribution, snow water equivalent (SWE), snowmelt, forests, sky view factor

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Citation:


Penn, Colin A.; Wemple, Beverley C.; Campbell, John L. 2012. Forest influences on snow accumulation and snowmelt at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, USA. Hydrological Processes. 26: 2524-2534.

 


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