Summertime influences of tidal energy advection on the surface energy balance in a mangrove forest
Abstract. Mangrove forests are ecosystems susceptible to changing water levels and temperatures due to climate change as well as perturbations resulting from tropical storms. Numerical models can be used to project mangrove forest responses to regional and global environmental changes, and the reliability of these models depends on surface energy balance closure. However, for tidal ecosystems, the surface energy balance is complex because the energy transport associated with tidal activity remains poorly understood. This study aimed to quantify impacts of tidal flows on energy dynamics within a mangrove ecosystem. To address the research objective, an intensive 10-day study was conducted in a mangrove forest located along the Shark River in the Everglades National Park, FL, USA. Forest–atmosphere turbulent exchanges of energy were quantified with an eddy covariance system installed on a 30-m-tall flux tower. Energy transport associated with tidal activity was calculated based on a coupled mass and energy balance approach. The mass balance included tidal flows and accumulation of water on the forest floor. The energy balance included temporal changes in enthalpy, resulting from tidal flows and temperature changes in the water column. By serving as a net sink or a source of available energy, flood waters reduced the impact of high radiational loads on the mangrove forest. Also, the regression slope of available energy versus sink terms increased from 0.730 to 0.754 and from 0.798 to 0.857, including total enthalpy change in the water column in the surface energy balance for 30-min periods and daily daytime sums, respectively. Results indicated that tidal inundation provides an important mechanism for heat removal and that tidal exchange should be considered in surface energy budgets of coastal ecosystems. Results also demonstrated the importance of including tidal energy advection in mangrove biophysical models that are used for predicting ecosystem response to changing climate and regional freshwater management practices.