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Effects of forest cover and environmental variables on snow accumulation and meltAuthor(s): Mariana Dobre; William J. Elliot; Joan Q. Wu; Timothy E. Link; Ina S. Miller
Source: In: Medley, C. Nicolas; Patterson, Glenn; Parker, Melanie J., eds. Proceedings of the Fourth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds: Observing, Studying, and Managing for Change; Sept 26-30, 2011; Fairbanks, AK. Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5169. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey. p. 114-119.
Publication Series: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (650.98 KB)
DescriptionThe goal of this study was to assess the effects of topography and forest cover resulting from different treatments on snow accumulation and melt in small watersheds in the western United States. A paired-watershed study was implemented at the Priest River Experimental Forest, Idaho, where 10 small watersheds with an average area of 4.5 ha were treated by: 1) control (no treatment), 2) thinning, 3) thinning with a prescribed fire, 4) prescribed fire, and 5) prescribed fire with salvage logging. At each watershed, a 30-m sampling grid was established for a total of 383 measurement locations. At each location, snow depth was measured between 2004 and 2010, from early February through April to characterize conditions near peak snow and during the mid-melt phase. A total of 70 snow density measurements were made at several randomly selected points within each watershed and were used to determine the snow water equivalent (SWE). Forest canopy cover at each measurement location following the treatments was measured, and specific topographic variables (elevation, slope, aspect, and curvature) were derived. Correlations between forest cover, snow accumulation, snow melt, topographic and meteorological variables were obtained to determine the effects of these variables on snow accumulation and melt.
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CitationDobre, Mariana; Elliot, William J.; Wu, Joan Q.; Link, Timothy E.; Miller, Ina S. 2011. Effects of forest cover and environmental variables on snow accumulation and melt. In: Medley, C. Nicolas; Patterson, Glenn; Parker, Melanie J., eds. Proceedings of the Fourth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds: Observing, Studying, and Managing for Change; Sept 26-30, 2011; Fairbanks, AK. Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5169. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey. p. 114-119.
Keywordssnow accumulation, snow melt, forest cover, topography, small watersheds
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