CR 05:15-23 (1995)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr005015

Snowpack ablation and associated processes in the Subarctic forest near Fort Norman, N.W.T., Canada

Kershaw GP

An experiment was established to measure the rate of snowpack ablation and associated processes within a Subarctic upland forest. Two areas were studied: a linear clearing and an adjacent undisturbed forest. Lysimeter readings were taken at least twice daily over about a 5 d period as the snowpack ablated from approximately 90% of mid-winter values (ca 70 cm). The lysimeter number declined from a total for both areas of 178 to 15 when the study was terminated due to insufficient snow cover. Ground surface and air temperatures as well as wind speed were recorded during the study period. In addition, runoff within the cleared area was monitored. Ablation occurred most rapidly and was complete first on the cleared right-of-way. This was facilitated by thinner snowpack, warmer temperatures and higher wind speeds than in the undisturbed forest. Little ground storage of meltwater occurred until the second day of the study when subsurface (throughflow) movement of water was measured. At this time the active layer was melting and water was infiltrating the soil. The majority of snowmelt became runoff from the site. Evaporation and sublimation losses from the snowpack were small.


Snow melt · Snow runoff · Spring thaw · Snowpack ablation . Subarctic snowmelt


Full text in pdf format