Acumulation of intercepted snow in the boreal forest: Measurements and modelling

TitleAcumulation of intercepted snow in the boreal forest: Measurements and modelling
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1997
AuthorsHedstrom, N. R., and Pomeroy J. W.
Conference Name65th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 65th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedMay 1997
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationBanff, Alberta
KeywordsInterception, Modeling

A new snowfall interception model is introduced. The model incorporates physically-based processes to scale from the branch to canopy. Previous models of snow interception have neglected the persistence of intercepted snow load and the effects of temperature on maximum intercepted load and hence have only been applicable to climates where snow is regularly and quickly lost from the canopy. To investigate snow interception at the forest stand scale, measurements of above and subcanopy snowfall, accumulation of snow on the ground and the load of snow intercepted by a suspended, full-size conifer were collected from boreal forest spruce and pine stands. These data show that interception increases with increasing snowfall, to a point when the intercepted load overcomes the strength of branches to support it. Hence, the interception efficiency decreases with snow load and amount of fresh snowfall. Leaf area index, tree species and initial snow load determine the maximum canopy snow storage. The maximum storage, canopy coverage and snowfall are used to calculate snow interception for a canopy, presuming exponential decay in incremental interception as the amount of snowfall increases. The sensitivity of the model to temperature, wind speed and other factors is examined. This method can be used to calculate snow interception over an entire winter period using relatively standard meteorological and forest inventory variables.