The Luquillo Mountains of northeastern Puerto Rico harbours important fractions of tropical
montane cloud forests. Although it is well known that the frequent occurrence of dense fog is a
common climatic characteristic of cloud forests around the world, it is poorly understood how
fog processes shape and influence these ecosystems. Our study focuses on the physical characteristics
of fog and quantifies the fogwater input to elfin cloud forest using direct eddy covariance
net flux measurements during a 43-day period in 2002. We used an ultrasonic anemometerthermometer
in combination with a size-resolving cloud droplet spectrometer capable of providing
number counts in 40 droplet size classes at a rate of 12.5 times per second. Fog occurred
during 85% of the time, and dense fog with a visibility <200 m persisted during 74% of the
period. Fog droplet size depended linearly on liquid water content (r2=0.89) with a volumeweighted
mean diameter of 13.8 μm. Due to the high frequency of occurrence of fog the total
fogwater deposition measured with the eddy covariance method and corrected for condensation
and advection effects in the persistent up-slope air flow, averaged 4.36 mm d−1, rainfall during
the same period was 28 mm d−1. Thus, our estimates of the contribution of fogwater to the
hydrological budget of elfin cloud forests is considerable and higher than in any other location
for which comparable data exist but still not a very large component in the hydrological budget.
For estimating fogwater fluxes for locations without detailed information about fog droplet
distributions we provide simple empirical relationships using visibility data.
Eugester, W., Burkard, R., Holwerda, F., Scatena, F.N., Bruijnzeel, L.A., (2006): Characteristics of fog and fogwater fluxes in a Puerto Rican elfin cloud forest. Agricultural and Forest Meterology.