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Manipulation of snow in small headwater catchments at Storgama, Norway: Effects on leaching of total organic carbon and total organic nitrogen

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Kari Austnes, Øyvind Kaste, Live Semb Vestgarden, Jan Mulder


Projected increases in winter temperature due to future climate change may cause decreased snow accumulation at lower and intermediate altitudes in northern temperate regions. The resulting changes in soil temperature and water regime may affect the leaching of total organic carbon (TOC) and total organic nitrogen (TON). We manipulated the snow cover of small headwater catchments in a montane heathland area of southern Norway to quantify its effect on concentrations and fluxes of TOC and TON in runoff. Manipulations included snow removal, to promote soil frost, and insulation, to prevent soil frost. Snow removal resulted in increased TOC and TON concentrations, but decreased fluxes. Insulation caused a slight decrease in concentrations and fluxes of TOC. Our experiments show that a change in snow depth, and thus soil temperature, is not likely to have serious effects on TOC and TON leaching in the montane heathland area studied.