Surface Energy Exchange in a Tropical Montane Cloud Forest Environment: Flux Partitioning, and Seasonal and Land Cover-Related Variations

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Friso Holwerda, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Mexico City, Mexico
Relationships between seasonal climate, land cover and surface energy exchange in tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF) environments are poorly understood. Yet, understanding these linkages is essential to evaluating the impacts of land use and climate change on the functioning of these unique ecosystems. In central Veracruz, Mexico, TMCF occurs between 1100 and 2500 m asl. The canopy of this forest consists of a mix of deciduous and broadleaved-evergreen tree species, the former of which shed their leaves for a short period during the dry season. The aim of this study was to quantify the surface energy balance, and seasonal variations therein, for TMCF, as well as for shaded coffee (CO) and sugarcane (SU), two important land uses that have replaced TMCF at lower elevations. Sensible (H) and latent heat (LE) fluxes were measured using eddy covariance and sap flow methods. Other measurements included: micrometeorological variables, soil heat flux, soil moisture and vegetation characteristics. Partitioning of available energy (A) into H and LE showed important seasonal changes as well as differences among land covers. During the wet-season month of July, average midday Bowen ratios for sunny days were lowest and least variable among land covers: 0.5 in TMCF and SU versus 0.7 in CO. However, because of higher A, along with lower Bowen ratio with respect to CO, LE over TMCF was ca. 20% higher compared to CO and SU. During the late dry-season months of March and April, average midday Bowen ratios for sunny days were generally much higher and more variable among land covers. The higher Bowen ratios indicated a reduction of LE under the drier conditions prevailing (low soil moisture and high VPD), something rarely observed in TMCFs. Moreover, because some trees were still partially leafless in March, LE over TMCF was about half that over CO and SU, suggesting an important effect of phenology on energy exchange of this TMCF. Observed differences between seasons and land covers, as well as possible implications of these findings will be further discussed.