Building a Global Network of Hydro-climatology Sites in Cloud-affected Tropical Montane Forests
Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Tropical montane forests are characteristically wet environments with low evapotranspiration and sometimes significant contributions from fog interception. They are often located at headwater catchments critical for water supplies, but ecohydroclimate data in these regions are sparse. Such evidence may be crucial for assessing climate alterations in these sensitive ecosystems. As part of a global effort led by the Tropical Montane Cloud Forest Research Coordination Network (Cloudnet - http://cloudnet.agsci.colostate.edu), we aim to extend the network of tropical montane forest sites and establish robust protocols for measuring key ecohydroclimatic parameters, including fog interception, windblown rain, throughfall, leaf wetness, and micrometeorological conditions. Specific recommendations for standardized protocols include (1) rain and fog collectors uniquely designed to separately quantify fog interception from direct rain inputs, even in windy conditions, (2) trough-style throughfall gages that collect 40 times the area of a typical tipping bucket gage with added features to reduce splash-out, (3) clusters of leaf wetness sensors to differentiate frequency and duration of wetness caused by rain and fog on windward and leeward exposures, and (4) basic micrometeorological sensors for solar radiation, temperature, humidity, and wind. At sites where resources allow for additional measurements, we developed protocols for quantifying soil moisture, soil saturation, and plant water uptake from both roots and leaves (i.e. foliar absorption), since these are also important drivers in these systems. Participating sites will be invited to contribute to a global meta-analysis that will provide new insights into the ecohydrology of cloud-affected tropical montane forests.