Physical attributes of some clouds amid a forest ecosystem's trees

Atmospheric Research



Cloud or fog water collected by forest canopies of any elevation could represent significant sources of required moisture and nutrients for forest ecosystems, human consumption, and as an alternative source of water for agriculture and domestic use. The physical characteristics of fogs and other clouds have been well studied, and this information can be useful to water balance or canopy–cloud interaction model verification and to calibration or training of satellite-borne sensors to recognize atmospheric attributes, such as optical thickness, albedo, and cloud properties. These studies have taken place above-canopy or within canopy clearings and rarely amid the canopy. Simultaneous physical and chemical characteristics of clouds amid and above the trees of a mountain forest, located about 3.3 km southwest of Mt. Mitchell, NC, were collected between 13 and 22 June 1993. This paper summarizes the physical characteristics of the cloud portions amid the trees. The characteristic cloud amid the trees (including cloud and precipitation periods) contained 250 droplet/cm3 with a mean diameter of 9.5 μm and liquid water content (LWC) of 0.11 g m−3. The cloud droplets exhibited a bimodal distribution with modes at about 2 and 8 μm and a mean diameter near 5 μm during precipitation-free periods, whereas the concurrent above-canopy cloud droplets had a unimodal distribution with a mode near 6 μm and a mean diameter of 6 μm. The horizontal cloud water flux is nonlinearly related to the rate of collection onto that surface amid the trees, especially for the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) sampling device, whereas it is linear when the forward scattering spectrometer probe (FSSP) are is used. These findings suggest that statements about the effects clouds have on surfaces they encounter, which are based on above-canopy or canopy-clearing data, can be misleading, if not erroneous.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Physical attributes of some clouds amid a forest ecosystem's trees
Series title Atmospheric Research
DOI 10.1016/S0169-8095(02)00112-6
Volume 65
Issue 1-2
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 18 p.
First page 17
Last page 34
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