Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Fei Chen; Guo Zhang; Michael Barlage; Ying Zhang; Jeffrey A. Hicke; Arjan Meddens; Guangsheng Zhou; William J. MassmanJohn Frank
    Date: 2015
    Source: Journal of Hydrometeorology. 16: 744-761.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.47 MB)


    Bark beetle outbreaks have killed billions of trees and affected millions of hectares of forest during recent decades. The objective of this study was to quantify responses of surface energy and hydrologic fluxes 2-3 yr following a spruce beetle outbreak using measurements and modeling. The authors used observations at the Rocky Mountains Glacier Lakes Ecosystem Experiments Site (GLEES), where beetles killed 85% of the basal area of spruce from 2005-07 (prebeetle) to 2009/10 (postbeetle). Observations showed increased albedo following tree mortality, more reflected solar radiation, and less net radiation, but these postoutbreak radiation changes are smaller than or comparable to their annual preoutbreak variability. The dominant signals from observations were a large reduction (27%) in summer daytime evaporation and a large increase (25%) in sensible heat fluxes. Numerous Noah LSM with multiparameterization options (Noah-MP) simulations incorporating beetle-caused tree mortality effects were conducted to assess their impact on the surface hydrological cycle components that were not directly observed. Model results revealed substantial seasonal variations: more spring snowmelt and runoff, less spring-summer transpiration, and drier soil in summer and fall. This modeled trend is similar to observed runoff changes in harvested forests where reduced forest density resulted in more spring snowmelt and annual water yields. Model results showed that snow albedo changes due to increased litter cover beneath killed trees altered the seasonal pattern of simulated snowmelt and snow water equivalent, but these changes are small compared to the effect of leaf loss. This study highlights the need to include the transient effects of forest disturbances in modeling land-atmosphere interactions and their potential impacts on regional weather and climate.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Chen, Fei; Zhang, Guo; Barlage, Michael; Zhang, Ying; Hicke, Jeffrey A.; Meddens, Arjan; Zhou, Guangsheng; Massman, William J.; Frank, John. 2015. An observational and modeling study of impacts of bark beetle-caused tree mortality on surface energy and hydrological cycles. Journal of Hydrometeorology. 16: 744-761.


    Google Scholar


    bark beetle, surface energy, hydrological cycles, Glacier Lakes Ecosystem Experiments Site (GLEES), disturbance

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page