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1 March 2017 Snowpack Loss Promotes Soil Freezing and Concrete Frost Formation in a Northeastern Temperate Softwoods Stand
Corianne Tatariw, Kaizad Patel, Jean D. MacRae, Ivan J. Fernandez
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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.

Corianne Tatariw, Kaizad Patel, Jean D. MacRae, and Ivan J. Fernandez "Snowpack Loss Promotes Soil Freezing and Concrete Frost Formation in a Northeastern Temperate Softwoods Stand," Northeastern Naturalist 24(sp7), (1 March 2017). https://doi.org/10.1656/045.024.s707
Published: 1 March 2017
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