Impacts of Fire and Flood on Land-Surface–Atmosphere Energetics in a Sub-tropical Barrier Island Freshwater Swamp
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Climate change is predicted to lead to a drier and warmer climate in sub-tropical eastern Australia. Drier landscapes are more susceptible to fire, however, increases in daily precipitation extremes, and possible expansion of tropical weather systems into higher latitudes, implies that flooding may also become more common. We use the eddy-covariance technique to evaluate turbulent heat fluxes, and a net radiometer to measure surface albedo, over a groundwater dependent barrier island swamp. Measurements are made for dry and vegetated surface conditions, and following the natural occurrences of a wildfire and flooding. Results show that the wetland Bowen ratio has a value near 1 for typical dry and vegetated conditions, and is dominated by the latent heat flux when inundated by water. The largest changes in the partitioning of available energy into turbulent heat fluxes occur in the days immediately after the wildfire when the surface is dry, with the midday sensible heat flux nearly eight times greater than the latent heat flux. The key influences on energy partitioning are the atmospheric conditions for a dry and vegetated surface, and the surface conditions for either a burnt or a flooded surface.
KeywordsAlbedo Fire Flood Sub-tropical Australia Surface energy balance
The authors acknowledge the comments from anonymous reviewers and the editors in improving this manuscript. The authors thank Andrew Lowry for assistance with data processing, Dr Junliang Fan for providing subsurface data for other sites on Bribie Island, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and HQ Plantations for allowing site access, and all field assistants. The Groundwater EIF funded the equipment for this research. This study was sponsored by The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT), co-funded by the Australian Research Council and the National Water Commission. M. Gray received funding from an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship, and from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at The University of Queensland. A. Guyot was funded by a University of Queensland Fellowship. The funding bodies were not involved in the study design, or in data processing or analysis. The MODIS LAI data were obtained through TERN AusCover (http://www.auscover.org.au). TERN is Australia’s land-based ecosystem observatory delivering data streams to enable environmental research and management (TERN, http://www.tern.org.au). TERN is a part of Australia’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS, https://www.education.gov.au/national-collaborative-research-infrastructure-strategy-ncris).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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