Snowtography quantifies effects of forest cover on net water input to soil at sites with ephemeral or stable seasonal snowpack in Arizona, USA
AffiliationSchool of Natural Resources and the Environment, The University of Arizona
School of Geography, Development and Environment, The University of Arizona
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CitationDwivedi, R., Biederman, J. A., Broxton, P. D., Lee, K., & van Leeuwen, W. J. D. (2022). Snowtography quantifies effects of forest cover on net water input to soil at sites with ephemeral or stable seasonal snowpack in Arizona, USA. Ecohydrology.
Rights© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.
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AbstractForested, snow-dominated watersheds provide a range of ecosystem services including water supply, carbon sequestration, habitat and recreation. While hydrologic partitioning has been well-studied in watersheds with stable seasonal snowpack, less is known about watersheds with ephemeral snowpack. Furthermore, drought-related disturbances and/or management practices are altering vegetation cover in many forests, with unknown and potentially different, consequences for stable seasonal versus ephemeral snowpacks. This study quantifies net water input (NWI) to soil for two sites with contrasting stable seasonal and ephemeral snowpacks, respectively, for three water years in Arizona, USA. Observations include a network of automated cameras and graduated snow stakes (snowtography) deployed across gradients of forest structure, airborne lidar maps of topography and forests and SNOTEL station records. Given the importance of mixed-phase precipitation in ephemeral snowpack watersheds, an algorithm is developed to distinguish among snowfall and rainfall that does/does not contribute to snowpack mass. Finally, existing canopy interception and snowpack models are used to estimate how NWI varies with canopy cover. At the ephemeral snowpack site, increasing canopy cover reduces NWI amount and advances its seasonal timing less strongly than at the stable seasonal snowpack site. Interestingly, canopy reduces NWI duration at the ephemeral site but prolongs it at the stable seasonal snowpack site. These effects are more important in a cool/wet and average year than a warm/dry year. Understanding differences between canopy impacts on amount, timing and duration of NWI for areas with ephemeral versus stable seasonal snowpack is increasingly important as the number of watersheds with ephemeral snowpack grows.
NotePublic domain article
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsU.S. Forest Service
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.