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Micrometeorology of a Diffuse Tree Line: How do airflow structures affect sensible heat flux divergence and temperature-controlled tree growth?

by Sondermann, Dylan P

Abstract

Harsch (2009, 2011) determined that diffuse tree lines are advancing globally as a response to warmer growing season temperatures. However, few have studied the local micrometeorological processes that change local climatic conditions for trees. This thesis aims to understand local airflow patterns and heat distribution within a diffuse tree line on Pikes Peak (Teller County, CO). Previous research identified that the study site represents an advancing tree line that has transitioned from an abrupt to a diffuse structure within the last century (Kummel et al. 2009-present). The mountain location of the study site governs large-scale wind patterns as an anabatic-katabatic wind system. On a more local scale, surface interactions at the diffuse tree line alter daytime flows, resulting in the formation of a low level jet. This jet alters climatic conditions by creating three vertical sub-layers with different atmospheric properties. A preliminary heat budget analysis of the diffuse tree line confirms the findings of jet characteristics while also determining that the low level jet is capable of altering vertical heat distribution and depositing heat as flows move uphill. This heat deposition is likely connected to growth patterns studied by Marks (2014) and overall tree line dynamics (Elwood et al. 2012).

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College
PID
coccc:10620
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
32 pages : illustrations, map(s)
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Taber, Mike Kummel, Miro
Department/Program
Environmental Program
Degree Name
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Type
bachelor
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued
2014-12