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Forest canopy effects on snow accumulation and ablation: an integrative review of empirical results

Posted date: July 28, 2015
Publication Year: 
2010
Authors: Varhola, Andres; Coops, Nicholas C.; Weiler, Markus; Moore, R. Dan
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Journal of Hydrology. 392: 219-233.

Abstract

The past century has seen significant research comparing snow accumulation and ablation in forested and open sites. In this review we compile and standardize the results of previous empirical studies to generate statistical relations between changes in forest cover and the associated changes in snow accumulation and ablation rate. The analysis drew upon 33 articles documenting these relationships at 65 individual sites in North America and Europe from the 1930s to present. Changes in forest cover explained 57% and 72% of the variance of relative changes in snow accumulation and ablation, respectively. The incorporation of geographic and average historic climatic information did not significantly improve the ability to predict changes in snow processes, mainly because most of the studies did not provide enough information on site characteristics such as slope and aspect or meteorological conditions taking place during the experiments. Two simple linear models using forest cover as the sole predictor of changes in snow accumulation and ablation are provided, as well as a review of the main sources of variation that prevent the elaboration of more accurate multiple regression models. Further studies should provide detailed information regarding the main sources of variation influencing snow processes including the effect of year-to-year changes in weather variables during the monitoring period.

Citation

Varhola, Andres; Coops, Nicholas C.; Weiler, Markus; Moore, R. Dan. 2010. Forest canopy effects on snow accumulation and ablation: an integrative review of empirical results. Journal of Hydrology. 392: 219-233.