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Microclimatological Investigations in the Tropical Alpine Scrub of Maui, Hawaii: Evidence for a Drought-induced Alpine Timberline

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Title: Microclimatological Investigations in the Tropical Alpine Scrub of Maui, Hawaii: Evidence for a Drought-induced Alpine Timberline
Authors: Leuschner, Christoph
Schulte, Michael
Issue Date: Apr 1991
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Leuschner C, Schulte M. 1991. Microclimatological investigations in the tropical alpine scrub of Maui, Hawaii: evidence for a drought-induced alpine timberline. Pac Sci 45(2): 152-168.
Abstract: Micrometeorological measurements were made in the lower alpine
zone of Mt. Haleakala on Maui, Hawaiian Islands, in March 1988 to characterize
ecologically significant climatological parameters. Daily courses of
photosynthetically active and total net radiation; temperatures of air, soil, and
plant canopy; wind speed; air humidity; leaf wetness; and precipitation were
recorded at an elevation of 2100 m in alpine scrub slightly above the timberline.
A battery-powered data-logging system was used, which gave high temporal
resolution. Influence of variable cloud cover on microclimate of the study site
was evaluated on five selected days with highly differing weather conditions.
Based on comparison with data from other high mountains of the humid tropical
zone, it is concluded that the alpine timberline on Maui is caused by a complex
of factors. Plant water availability is probably the dominating one; temperature
seems to be of lesser importance. The possible role of other important factors is
discussed. The extraordinary microclimatological conditions of the alpine zone
of Maui are examined in the context of the atmospheric circulation system in
the region of the Hawaiian archipelago.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/517
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 45, Number 2, 1991



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