Canadian Forest Service Publications

The influence of opening size on snow evaporation in the forests of the Alberta Foothills. 1993. Bernier, P.Y.; Swanson, R.H. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 23: 239-244.

Year: 1993

Available from: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 16475

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)


In situ snow evaporation was measured in circular openings, from 0H (full forest) to 5H (where H is the height of the surrounding trees; approximately 20 m), cut in the lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl.) forest of the Alberta Foothills. Additional measurements were also made in a large 40H irregular clearing. The ratios of snow evaporation measured in the circular clearings to that measured in the large irregular opening were 0.24, 0.23, 0.28, and 0.41 for the 0H, 1H, 3H, and 5H, respectively. The aerodynamic approach yielded a good estimated of average daily snow evaporation in the large opening, with a computed value of 1.01 mm versus a measured one of 1.07 mm. Snow evaporation in the 0H opening was enhanced over that attributable to turbulent transport by nightime radiative transfer from the canopy, which kept the snow warmer than in the other openings and prevented condensation. Vertical transfer efficiencies, the slope of the curve relating snow evaporation to the product of horizontal wind speed and vertical humidity gradient, were similar in all clearing sizes in spite of possible fundamental differences in wind fields created by the various canopy-opening interactions. Comparison of data from smaller openings with data from a previous study by A.J. West suggests that diffrences in snow evaporation between openings can be indexed to opening size.

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