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Title: Evaluating the functionality and streamflow impacts of explicitly modelling forest-snow interactions and canopy gaps in a distributed hydrologic model

Abstract

Many plot-scale observational studies found that snow cover dynamics in forest gaps are distinctly different from open and continuously forested areas, and canopy gaps have the potential to increase snow retention and alter the snow regime. However, our knowledge on forest-snow interactions in discontinuous forests with canopy gaps and their implications for forest and water management is far more limited. We address this knowledge gap through a major enhancement of a widely used distributed hydrologic model, DHSVM. We developed a canopy gap component as a unique vegetation type that is characterized on the subgrid scale, with physics-based representation of processes that allow independent evolution of snowpack in forest gaps. We validated the enhanced DHSVM for three experimental sites in close proximity consisting of a completely open site, a densely forested site, and a canopy gap site. Despite the scale mismatch between point measurements and grid-scale simulations, the modeled snow water equivalent (SWE) agreed reasonably well with the continuous observations collected during one full ablation season at all sites. Evaluation of snowpack energetics suggested that snow ablation at three sites was controlled primarily by net radiation that critically depends on the canopy cover and structure. While the rate of snowmelt remainedmore » relatively constant in the forest during the ablation season, the gap demonstrated marked temporal variability in ablation rate as a result of complex interplay between canopy structure of the adjacent forest and the angle of solar incidence. The comparison of this enhanced version to the original DHSVM highlighted the importance of explicitly accounting for forest impacts on the gap snowpack energy balance. Between the two versions, the greatest difference in snow ablation rates was found in smaller gaps. The enhanced model tends to predict notably later melt for small to medium canopy gaps (the ratio of gap radius to canopy height r/h = 1.3), and snow melt rates exhibit great sensitivity to changing gap size in medium-size gaps (0.5 = r/h = 1.3).« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Hydrology Technical Group, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA
  2. Hydrology Technical Group, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle WA 98195 USA
  3. Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99352 USA
  4. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle WA 98195 USA
  5. Natural Systems Design, Seattle WA 98195 USA
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1499197
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-131081
Journal ID: ISSN 0885-6087
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Hydrological Processes
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 32; Journal Issue: 13; Journal ID: ISSN 0885-6087
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Forest-Snow Dynamics, Canopy Gap, Snow Hydrology, DHSVM

Citation Formats

Sun, Ning, Wigmosta, Mark, Zhou, Tian, Lundquist, Jessica, Dickerson-Lange, Susan, and Cristea, Nicoleta. Evaluating the functionality and streamflow impacts of explicitly modelling forest-snow interactions and canopy gaps in a distributed hydrologic model. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1002/hyp.13150.
Sun, Ning, Wigmosta, Mark, Zhou, Tian, Lundquist, Jessica, Dickerson-Lange, Susan, & Cristea, Nicoleta. Evaluating the functionality and streamflow impacts of explicitly modelling forest-snow interactions and canopy gaps in a distributed hydrologic model. United States. doi:10.1002/hyp.13150.
Sun, Ning, Wigmosta, Mark, Zhou, Tian, Lundquist, Jessica, Dickerson-Lange, Susan, and Cristea, Nicoleta. Fri . "Evaluating the functionality and streamflow impacts of explicitly modelling forest-snow interactions and canopy gaps in a distributed hydrologic model". United States. doi:10.1002/hyp.13150.
@article{osti_1499197,
title = {Evaluating the functionality and streamflow impacts of explicitly modelling forest-snow interactions and canopy gaps in a distributed hydrologic model},
author = {Sun, Ning and Wigmosta, Mark and Zhou, Tian and Lundquist, Jessica and Dickerson-Lange, Susan and Cristea, Nicoleta},
abstractNote = {Many plot-scale observational studies found that snow cover dynamics in forest gaps are distinctly different from open and continuously forested areas, and canopy gaps have the potential to increase snow retention and alter the snow regime. However, our knowledge on forest-snow interactions in discontinuous forests with canopy gaps and their implications for forest and water management is far more limited. We address this knowledge gap through a major enhancement of a widely used distributed hydrologic model, DHSVM. We developed a canopy gap component as a unique vegetation type that is characterized on the subgrid scale, with physics-based representation of processes that allow independent evolution of snowpack in forest gaps. We validated the enhanced DHSVM for three experimental sites in close proximity consisting of a completely open site, a densely forested site, and a canopy gap site. Despite the scale mismatch between point measurements and grid-scale simulations, the modeled snow water equivalent (SWE) agreed reasonably well with the continuous observations collected during one full ablation season at all sites. Evaluation of snowpack energetics suggested that snow ablation at three sites was controlled primarily by net radiation that critically depends on the canopy cover and structure. While the rate of snowmelt remained relatively constant in the forest during the ablation season, the gap demonstrated marked temporal variability in ablation rate as a result of complex interplay between canopy structure of the adjacent forest and the angle of solar incidence. The comparison of this enhanced version to the original DHSVM highlighted the importance of explicitly accounting for forest impacts on the gap snowpack energy balance. Between the two versions, the greatest difference in snow ablation rates was found in smaller gaps. The enhanced model tends to predict notably later melt for small to medium canopy gaps (the ratio of gap radius to canopy height r/h = 1.3), and snow melt rates exhibit great sensitivity to changing gap size in medium-size gaps (0.5 = r/h = 1.3).},
doi = {10.1002/hyp.13150},
journal = {Hydrological Processes},
issn = {0885-6087},
number = 13,
volume = 32,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {6}
}

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