An Observational and Modeling Study of Impacts of Bark Beetle–Caused Tree Mortality on Surface Energy and Hydrological Cycles

Fei Chen * National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, and State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China

Search for other papers by Fei Chen in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Guo Zhang State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China

Search for other papers by Guo Zhang in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Michael Barlage National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Search for other papers by Michael Barlage in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Ying Zhang National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

Search for other papers by Ying Zhang in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Jeffrey A. Hicke University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho

Search for other papers by Jeffrey A. Hicke in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Arjan Meddens University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho

Search for other papers by Arjan Meddens in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Guangsheng Zhou ** Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China

Search for other papers by Guangsheng Zhou in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
William J. Massman U.S. Forest Service, Fort Collins, Colorado

Search for other papers by William J. Massman in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
John Frank U.S. Forest Service, Fort Collins, Colorado, and University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

Search for other papers by John Frank in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

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.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Corresponding author address: Fei Chen, NCAR/RAL, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000. E-mail: feichen@ucar.edu

Abstract

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.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Corresponding author address: Fei Chen, NCAR/RAL, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000. E-mail: feichen@ucar.edu
Save
  • Adams, H. D., Luce C. H. , Breshears D. D. , Allen C. D. , Weiler M. , Hale V. C. , Smith A. M. S. , and Huxman T. E. , 2012: Ecohydrological consequences of drought- and infestation-triggered tree die-off: Insights and hypotheses. Ecohydrology, 5, 145159, doi:10.1002/eco.233.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Anderson, E. A., 1976: A point energy and mass balance model of a snow cover. NOAA Tech. Rep. NWS 19, National Weather Service, Silver Spring, MD, 150 pp.

  • Bentz, B. J., and Coauthors, 2010: Climate change and bark beetles of the western United States and Canada: Direct and indirect effects. BioScience, 60, 602613, doi:10.1525/bio.2010.60.8.6.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berg, A. R., Heald C. L. , Huff Hartz K. E. , Hallar A. G. , Meddens A. J. H. , Hicke J. A. , Lamarque J.-F. , and Tilmes S. , 2013: The impact of bark beetle infestations on monoterpene emissions and secondary organic aerosol formation in western North America. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 31493161, doi:10.5194/acp-13-3149-2013.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boon, S., 2009: Snow ablation energy balance in a dead forest stand. Hydrol. Processes, 23, 2600–2610, doi:10.1002/hyp.7246.

  • Boon, S., 2012: Snow accumulation following forest disturbance. Ecohydrology, 5, 279285, doi:10.1002/eco.212.

  • Bradford, J. B., Birdsey R. A. , Joyce L. A. , and Ryan M. G. , 2008: Tree age, disturbance history, and carbon stocks and fluxes in subalpine Rocky Mountain forests. Global Change Biol.,14, 2882–2897, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01686.x.

  • Bright, B. C., Hicke J. A. , and Meddens A. J. H. , 2013: Effects of bark beetle–caused tree mortality on biogeochemical and biogeophysical MODIS products. J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci.,118, 974–982, doi:10.1002/jgrg.20078.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chen, F., and Coauthors, 2007: Description and evaluation of the characteristics of the NCAR high-resolution land data assimilation system. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol.,46, 694713, doi:10.1175/JAM2463.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coops, N. C., Waring R. H. , Wulder M. A. , and White J. C. , 2009: Prediction and assessment of bark beetle–induced mortality of lodgepole pine using estimates of stand vigor derived from remotely sensed data. Remote Sens. Environ., 113, 10581066, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2009.01.013.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Duhl, T. R., Gochis D. , Guenther A. , Ferrenberg S. , and Pendall E. , 2013: Emissions of BVOC from lodgepole pine in response to mountain pine beetle attack in high and low mortality forest stands. Biogeosciences, 10, 483499, doi:10.5194/bg-10-483-2013.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Edburg, S. L., Hicke J. A. , Lawrence D. M. , and Thornton P. E. , 2011: Simulating coupled carbon and nitrogen dynamics following mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the western United States. J. Geophys. Res.,116, G04033, doi:10.1029/2011JG001786.

  • Edburg, S. L., and Coauthors, 2012: Cascading impacts of bark beetle–caused tree mortality on coupled biogeophysical and biogeochemical processes. Front. Ecol. Environ.,10, 416–424, doi:10.1890/110173.

  • Frank, J. M., Massman W. J. , Ewers B. E. , Huckaby L. S. , and Negrón J. F. , 2014: Ecosystem CO2/H2O fluxes are explained by hydraulically limited gas exchange during tree mortality from spruce bark beetles. J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci.,119, 1195–1215, doi:10.1002/2013JG002597.

  • Goetz, S. J., and Coauthors, 2012: Observations and assessment of forest carbon recovery following disturbance in North America. J. Geophys. Res., 117, G02022, doi:10.1029/2011JG001733.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goudriaan, J., 1977: Crop Micrometeorology: A Simulation Study. Wageningen Center for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation, 249 pp.

  • Guardiola-Claramonte, M., Troch P. A. , Breshears D. D. , Huxman T. E. , Switanek M. B. , Durcik M. , and Cobb N. S. , 2011: Decreased streamflow in semi-arid basins following drought-induced tree die-off: A counter-intuitive and indirect climate impact on hydrology. J. Hydrol.,406, 225–233, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.06.017.

  • Guillemette, F., Plamondon A. P. , Prevost M. , and Levesque D. , 2005: Rainfall generated stormflow response to clearcutting a boreal forest: Peak flow comparison with 50 world-wide basin studies. J. Hydrol., 302, 137153, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2004.06.043.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hicke, J. A., Logan J. A. , Powell J. , and Ojima D. S. , 2006: Changing temperatures influence suitability for modeled mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreaks in the western United States. J. Geophys. Res.,111, G02019, doi:10.1029/2005JG000101.

  • Hubbard, R. M., Rhoades C. C. , Elder K. , and Negron J. F. , 2013: Changes in transpiration and foliage growth in lodgepole pine trees following mountain pine beetle attack and mechanical girdling. For. Ecol. Manage.,29, 312–317, doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2012.09.028.

  • Kurz, W. A., Stinson G. , Rampley G. J. , Dymond C. C. , and Neilson E. T. , 2008: Risk of natural disturbances makes future contribution of Canada’s forests to the global carbon cycle highly uncertain. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 105, 15511555, doi:10.1073/pnas.0708133105.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lee, X., Massman W. J. , and Law B. E. , 2004: Handbook of Micrometeorology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 244 pp.

  • MacDonald, L. H., and Stednick J. D. , 2003: Forests and water: A state-of-the-art review for Colorado. CWRRI Completion Rep. 196, Colorado Water Resources Research Institute, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 65 pp. [Available online at www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_exp_forests/manitou/rmrs_2003_macDonald_l001.pdf.]

  • Maness, H., Kushner P. J. , and Fung I. , 2013: Summertime climate response to mountain pine beetle disturbance in British Columbia. Nat. Geosci., 6, 6570, doi:10.1038/ngeo1642.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Meddens, A. J. H., Hicke J. A. , and Ferguson C. A. , 2012: Spatiotemporal patterns of observed bark beetle–caused tree mortality in British Columbia and the western United States. Ecol. Appl., 22, 18761891, doi:10.1890/11-1785.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mikkelson, K. M., Maxwell R. M. , Ferguson I. , Stednick J. D. , McCray J. E. , and Sharp J. O. , 2013: Mountain pine beetle infestation impacts: modeling water and energy budgets at the hill-slope scale. Ecohydrology, 6, 6472, doi:10.1002/eco.278.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Molotch, N. P., Brooks P. D. , Burns S. P. , Litvak M. , Monson R. K. , McConnell J. R. , and Musselman K. , 2009: Ecohydrological controls on snowmelt partitioning in mixed-conifer sub-alpine forests. Ecohydrology, 2, 129142, doi:10.1002/eco.48.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morton, D. C., Collatz G. J. , Wang D. , Randerson J. T. , Giglio L. , and Chen Y. , 2013: Satellite-based assessment of climate controls on US burned area. Biogeosciences, 10, 247260, doi:10.5194/bg-10-247-2013.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Musselman, R. C., 1994: The Glacier Lakes Ecosystem Experiments Site. General Tech. Rep. RM-249, Forest Service, USDA, Fort Collins, CO, 94 pp. [Available online at www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_rm/rm_gtr249.pdf.]

  • Niu, G.-Y., and Yang Z.-L. , 2004: Effects of vegetation canopy processes on snow surface energy and mass balances. J. Geophys. Res.,109, D23111, doi:10.1029/2004JD004884.

  • Niu, G.-Y., Yang Z.-L. , Dickinson R. E. , and Gulden L. E. , 2005: A simple TOPMODEL-based runoff parameterization (SIMTOP) for use in global climate models. J. Geophys. Res.,110, D21106, doi:10.1029/2005JD006111.

  • Niu, G.-Y., and Coauthors, 2011: The community Noah land surface model with multiparameterization options (Noah-MP): 1. Model description and evaluation with local-scale measurements. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D12109, doi:10.1029/2010JD015139.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • O’Halloran, T. L., and Coauthors, 2012: Radiative forcing of natural forest disturbances. Global Change Biol., 18, 555565, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02577.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pielke, R. A., and Pearce R. P. , 1994: Mesoscale Modeling of the Atmosphere. Meteor. Monogr., No. 47, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 167 pp.

  • Pugh, E., and Small E. , 2012: The impact of pine beetle infestation on snow accumulation and melt in the headwaters of the Colorado River. Ecohydrology,5, 467–477, doi:10.1002/eco.239.

  • Pugh, E., and Small E. , 2013: The impact of beetle-induced conifer death on stand-scale canopy snow interception. Hydrol. Res., 44, 644657, doi:10.2166/nh.2013.097.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Speckman, H. N., Frank J. M. , Bradford J. B. , Miles B. L. , Massman W. J. , Parton W. J. , and Ryan M. G. , 2015: Forest ecosystem respiration estimated from eddy covariance and chamber measurements under high turbulence and substantial tree mortality from bark beetles. Global Change Biol., 21, 708721, doi:10.1111/gcb.12731.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stull, R. B., 1988: An Introduction to Boundary Layer Meteorology. Kluwer, 670 pp.

  • Wiedinmyer, C., Barlage M. , Tewari M. , and Chen F. , 2012: Meteorological impacts of forest mortality due to insect infestation in Colorado. Earth Interact., 16, doi:10.1175/2011EI419.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wild, M., and Liepert B. , 2010: The Earth radiation balance as driver of the global hydrological cycle. Environ. Res. Lett.,5, 025203, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/5/2/025203.

  • Willmott, C. J., 1981: On the validation of models. Phys. Geogr., 2, 184194, doi:10.1080/02723646.1981.10642213.

  • Yang, Z.-L., and Niu G.-Y. , 2003: The versatile integrator of surface and atmosphere processes: Part 1. Model description. Global Planet. Change,38, 175–189, doi:10.1016/S0921-8181(03)00028-6.

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 422 91 5
PDF Downloads 302 85 14