TITLE

Snowpack Loss Promotes Soil Freezing and Concrete Frost Formation in a Northeastern Temperate Softwoods Stand

AUTHOR(S)
Tatariw, Corianne; Patel, Kaizad; MacRae, Jean D.; Fernandez, Ivan J.
PUB. DATE
January 2017
SOURCE
Northeastern Naturalist;2017 Special Issue 7, Vol. 24, pB42
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Snowpack produces a thermal layer that protects soil from freezing and provides a pulse of nutrient-rich water in spring. Climate forecasts for Maine indicate 20-60% reduction in snowfall by 2050. In January 2015, we initiated a snow-removal experiment in Old Town, ME to investigate the impact of snow loss on forest soil conditions. Snow removal significantly lowered winter organic horizon temperatures by 2 °C on average. Soils in snow-removal plots were 25% wetter during the vernal transition because precipitation was not intercepted by snow. These rain-on-soil events caused the formation of concrete frost, delaying soil thaw in snow-removal plots. Our results provide evidence that snowpack loss increases soil frost and can also increase soil moisture, potentially altering biotic function within a coniferous forest type.
ACCESSION #
121877822

 

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