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Assessing the Efficacy of Two Indirect Methods for Quantifying Canopy Variables Associated with the Interception Loss of Rainfall in Temperate Hardwood Forests

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DOI: 10.4236/ojmh.2012.22005    2,960 Downloads   6,967 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Forest canopy water storage (S), direct throughfall fraction (p) and mean evaporation rate to mean rainfall intensity ratio (E/R) vary between storms and seasonally. Typically, researchers only quantify the mean growing and dormant season values of S, p and E/R for deciduous forests, thereby ignoring seasonal changes S, p and E/R .Past researchers adapted the mean method, which is usually used to estimate S, p and E/R on an annual or seasonal basis, to estimate the same canopy variables on a per storm basis (individual storm (IS) method). The disadvantage of the IS method is that it requires more expensive equipment and the calculation of the canopy variables is more labor intensive relative to the mean method. The goal of this study was to explore the use of the IS method for northern hardwood forests and to determine whether estimates of S, p and E/R derived by the IS method produce more accurate estimates of rainfall interception loss (In) using the Gash model relative to estimates derived by the mean method. The IS method estimated that S increased from approximately 0.11 mm in the early spring to 1.2 mm in the summer and then declined to 0.24 mm after fall senescence. Direct throughfall decreased from 0.4 in the early spring to 0.11 in the summer, and then increased to 0.4 after leaf senescence. When measurement period estimates of p, S and E/R derived by the IS and mean methods were applied to the Gash model, the modeled estimates of In differed from the measured values by 14.0 mm and 1.3 mm, respectively. Therefore, because the mean method provided more accurate estimates of In, the extra effort and expense required by the IS method is not advantageous for studies in northern hardwood forests that only need to model annual or seasonal estimates of In.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

T. G. Pypker, C. S. Tarasoff and H. Koh, "Assessing the Efficacy of Two Indirect Methods for Quantifying Canopy Variables Associated with the Interception Loss of Rainfall in Temperate Hardwood Forests," Open Journal of Modern Hydrology, Vol. 2 No. 2, 2012, pp. 29-40. doi: 10.4236/ojmh.2012.22005.

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