Snow ablation modeling in conifer and deciduous stands of the boreal forest

TitleSnow ablation modeling in conifer and deciduous stands of the boreal forest
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1997
AuthorsHardy, J. P., Davis R. E., Jordan R., Ni W., and Woodcock C.
Conference Name65th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 65th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedMay 1997
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationBanff, Alberta
KeywordsAblation, Aspen, Black spruce, Jack pine, Modeling

Both coniferous and deciduous forests alter the energy exchange and the accumulation and ablation of snow on the ground. Snow ablation modeling at the stand scale presents challenges to account for the variability in snow cover and the large variations of solar and thermal radiation incident to the forest floor. Previous work by the authors coupled a one-dimensional snow process model (SNTHERM), modified for forested conditions, with a model of radiation interactions with forest canopies to successfully predict snow ablation in a mature jack pine stand. Now, we use the same approach and model snow ablation in black spruce and aspen stands and verify the modeling effort by comparison with field data. A new routine is added to SNTHERM to account for forest litter on the snow surface, thereby affecting the albedo. We conducted field work during March 1996 in central Saskatchewan. We measured snow pack physical properties, meteorological parameters within the forest canopy, and incoming solar and thermal irradiance beneath the forest canopy. At peak accumulation snow depths in black spruce tree wells were approximately 65% of that measured in forest gaps. Snow in the aspen stand ablated 26 days before snow in the black spruce stand and both results compare favorably with available measured data.