The distribution of solar radiation within a deciduous forest
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The distribution of solar radiation within a deciduous forest

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    Solar radiation was measured within and above an east Tennessee deciduous forest over a 2-yr period. Diurnal patterns of within-forest radiation follow the temporal variation in incident radiation but become more irregular with depth in the forest because of the highly variable penetration of beam radiation in space and in time. Seasonally, radiation in the forest increases substantially from winter to its annual maximum in early spring as solar elevations increase. Although solar elevations continue to rise each day until the summer solstice, amounts of total radiation and its beam component drop sharply in the forest with the advent of leaf expansion. Diffuse radiation in the forest continues to increase slowly following the onset of leaf expansion but reverses as the forest approaches a fully leafed state. Following the summer solstice, forest structure remains essentially static until abscission while solar elevations decrease. In summer and early autumn, total radiation and both its beam and diffuse components decrease slowly in the forest to their annual minimum in autumn. With leaf abscission and subsequent fall, radiation increases slightly in the forest but soon declines again as solar elevations approach their annual minimum of the winter solstice.
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