Meteorological impacts of forest mortality due to insect infestation in Colorado

AMS Citation:
Wiedinmyer, C., M. J. Barlage, M. Tewari, and F. Chen, 2012: Meteorological impacts of forest mortality due to insect infestation in Colorado. Earth Interactions, 16, 1-11, doi:10.1175/2011EI419.1.
Resource Type:article
Title:Meteorological impacts of forest mortality due to insect infestation in Colorado
Abstract: Physical characteristics of forests and other ecosystems control land–atmosphere exchanges of water and energy and partly dictate local and regional meteorology. Insect infestation and resulting forest dieback can alter these characteristics and, further, modify land–atmosphere exchanges. In the past decade, insect infestation has led to large-scale forest mortality in western North America. This study uses a high-resolution mesoscale meteorological model coupled with a detailed land surface model to investigate the sensitivity of near-surface variables to insect-related forest mortality. The inclusion of this land surface disturbance in the model increased in simulated skin temperature by as much as 2.1 K. The modeled 2-m temperature increased an average of 1 K relative to the default simulations. A latent to sensible heat flux shift with a magnitude of 10%–15% of the available energy in the forested ecosystem was predicted after the inclusion of insect infestation and forest dieback. Although results were consistent across multiple model configurations, the characteristics of forests affected by insect infestations must be better constrained to more accurately predict their impacts. Despite the limited duration of the simulations (one week), these initial results suggest the importance of including large-scale forest mortality due to insect infestation in meteorological models and highlight the need for better observations of the characteristics and exchanges of these disturbed landscapes.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2012 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be "fair use" under Section 107 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 USC, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the Society's permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form on servers, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statements, requires written permission or license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policies, available from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or Permission to place a copy of this work on this server has been provided by the AMS. The AMS does not guarantee that the copy provided here is an accurate copy of the published work.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7tt4rjn
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/2011EI419.1
  • Christine Wiedinmyer - NCAR/UCAR
  • Michael Barlage - NCAR/UCAR
  • Mukul Tewari - NCAR/UCAR
  • Fei Chen - NCAR/UCAR
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