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Clear-cut Effects on Snow Accumulation and Evapotranspiration in a Boreal Catchment in Northern Sweden: Avverkningseffekter på snöackumulation och evapotranspiration i ett nordligt avrinningsområde i Sverige
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis was to investigate the processes behind an unexpected runoff behaviour after a clear-cut in a boreal forest in northern Sweden (Balsjö). The risks of increased flooding, erosion, nutrient leakage and changes in the local ecosystems are some reasons why it is important to fully understand the effect of clear-cuts on the water balance. In northern boreal forests the snow is of great importance as it results in the main hydrological event of the year, the spring flood. In general, open areas accumulate more snow, have a lower evapotranspiration and therefore maintain a higher runoff than a forest. In a recent paired catchment study at Balsjö the expected pattern after a clear-cut was only shown in three out of five years (2007-2011). The expected increase in runoff did not occur in 2010 and 2011. Two hypothesized alternatives were year-to-year variation of ET or changes in soil water storage.

In order to investigate this further the rainfall-runoff model HBV was used. First, the model was calibrated for the forest catchment (Ref) and the clear-cut catchment (CC), using observed data from Balsjö. To account for parameter uncertainty the calibration was performed using parameter optimization, resulting in 100 different parameter sets. Model results were evaluated using observed snow data from Balsjö and ET from Flakaliden, a nearby forest. Both the simulated snow and ET were quite consistent with the observed values. Finally the annual and the spring water balance were studied, using the simulated data.

The simulated results did not detect the unexpected runoff behavior for the two years as clearly as the observations. The reason for this was that the model was calibrated for all five years, which meant that annual variations were not taken into account. The hypothesis, that higher ET could be the reason for the unexpected runoff behavior, could neither be dismissed nor confirmed by this thesis. This was because there were no observed data for the clear-cut area and limitations within the HBV model, which meant that sublimation and interception processes could not be analyzed separately. The model results indicated that the change in soil water storage was a more likely explanation for the unexpected runoff behavior. The simulation result showed that the meltwater was stored in the soil water storage. However, this theory does not seem likely since a clear-cut is normally wetter than a forest.

The results of this thesis are consistent with other studies as they indicate that clear-cut effects should be studied seasonally as well as annually. The special feature of this thesis was the opportunity to study observed ET and investigate its influence on the water balance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 45 p.
UPTEC W, ISSN 1401-5765 ; 13039
Keyword [en]
: Clear-cut, HBV, boreal forest, runoff, evapotranspiration, snow accumulation
Keyword [sv]
avverkning, HBV, avrinning, evapotranspiration, snöackumulering
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-210359OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-210359DiVA: diva2:662056
Educational program
Master Programme in Environmental and Water Engineering
Available from: 2013-11-18 Created: 2013-11-05 Last updated: 2013-11-18Bibliographically approved

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