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The boreal forest and the polar front

Pielke, R. A. and Vidale, P. L. (1995) The boreal forest and the polar front. Journal of Geophysical Research, 100 (D12). pp. 25755-25758. ISSN 0148-0227

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/95JD02418


The analysis presented in this paper suggests that the larger heating over the boreal forest in the spring and summer, as contrasted with weaker heating over the adjacent tundra, results in a preferred position of the polar front along the northern edge of the boreal forest. This positioning is well documented in the literature (see, for example, Bryson, 1966; Barry and Hare, 1974; Kreps and Barry, 1970). This heating results from the lower albedo of the boreal forest which is not compensated by an increase in transpiration, even with the larger leaf area index of the forest. The warmer temperatures are mixed upward by the deep boundary layer over the forest and mesoscale circulations which result from the patchiness of heating associated with the heterogeneous landscapes of the forest. Thus in contrast to previous assumptions in which the arctic front position in the summer determines the northern limit of the boreal tree line, our study suggests the boreal forest itself significantly influences the preferred position of the front. This conclusion reinforces the findings of Bonan et al. (1992) and Foley et al. (1994) on the important role of boreal forest-tundra interactions with climate.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:31158
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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