SNOW ACCUMULATION AND ABLATION IN DIFFERENT CANOPY STRUCTURES AT A PLOT SCALE: USING DEGREE-DAY APPROACH AND MEASURED SHORTWAVE RADIATION
The knowledge of water volume stored in the snowpack and its spatial distribution is important to predict the snowmelt runoff. The objective of this study was to quantify the role of different forest types on the snowpack distribution at a plot scale during snow accumulation and snow ablation periods. Special interest was put in the role of the forest affected by the bark beetle (Ips typographus). We performed repeated detailed manual field survey at selected mountain plots with different canopy structure located at the same elevation and without influence of topography and wind on the snow distribution. A snow accumulation and ablation model was set up to simulate the snow water equivalent (SWE) in plots with different vegetation cover. The model was based on degree-day approach and accounts for snow interception in different forest types.
The measured SWE in the plot with healthy forest was on average by 41% lower than in open area during snow accumulation period. The disturbed forest caused the SWE reduction by 22% compared to open area indicating increasing snow storage after forest defoliation. The snow ablation in healthy forest was by 32% slower compared to open area. On the contrary, the snow ablation in disturbed forest (due to the bark beetle) was on average only by 7% slower than in open area. The relative decrease in incoming solar radiation in the forest compared to open area was much bigger compared to the relative decrease in snowmelt rates. This indicated that the decrease in snowmelt rates cannot be explained only by the decrease in incoming solar radiation. The model simulated best in open area and slightly worse in healthy forest. The model showed faster snowmelt after forest defoliation which also resulted in earlier snow melt-out in the disturbed forest.