The influence of long-term changes in canopy structure on rainfall interception loss: a case study in Speulderbos, the Netherlands

C. Cisneros Vaca (Corresponding Author), C. van der Tol, C.P. Ghimire

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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The evaporation of intercepted water by forests is a significant contributor to both the water and energy budget of the Earth. In many studies, a discrepancy in the water and energy budget is found: the energy that is needed for evaporation is larger than the available energy supplied by net radiation. In this study, we analyse the water and energy budget of a mature Douglas fir stand in the Netherlands, for the two growing seasons of 2015 and 2016. Based on the wet-canopy water balance equation for these two growing seasons, derived interception losses were estimated to be 37 and 39 % of gross rainfall, respectively. We further scrutinized eddy-covariance energy balance data from these two consecutive growing seasons and found the average evaporation rate during wet-canopy conditions was 0.20 mm h -1. The source of energy for this wet-canopy evaporation was net radiation (35 %), a negative sensible heat flux (45 %), and a negative energy storage change (15 %). This confirms that the energy for wet-canopy evaporation is extracted from the atmosphere as well as the biomass. Moreover, the measured interception loss at the forest was similar to that measured at the same site years before (I = 38 %), when the forest was younger (29 years old, vs. 55 years old in 2015). At that time, the forest was denser and had a higher canopy storage capacity (2.4 mm then vs. 1.90 mm in 2015), but the aerodynamic conductance was lower (0.065 m s -1 then vs. 0.105 m s -1 in 2015), and therefore past evaporation rates were lower than evaporation rates found in the present study (0.077 mm h -1 vs. 0.20 mm h -1 in 2015). Our findings emphasize the importance of quantifying downward sensible heat flux and heat release from canopy biomass in tall forest in order to improve the quantification of evaporative fluxes in wet canopies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3701-3719
Number of pages19
JournalHydrology and earth system sciences
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2018




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