Climate-Induced Shifts in Global Soil Temperature Regimes

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Abstract

Soil temperature is a key factor of plant growth and biological enzyme activities occurring in the soil, affected by the land cover, the evapotranspiration rate, the albedo, and the energy budget of the soil surface. In recent decades, efforts have been made to conserve soils against nonsustainable anthropogenic pressures. Changes in climate can impose additional threats on soil sustainability, as global scale soil temperature regime alterations are expected under global warming. Here, data from three well-established global climate models, spanning from 1981 to as far as 2120, are used to force the JULES (Joint UK Land Environment Simulator) model and produce simulations of soil temperature, calculating the water and energy budgets of the land surface. Modeled soil temperature data are used to estimate the climate-induced changes in the global soil temperature regimes at three different global warming levels. The results show significant shifts in the soil temperature regime for extended areas of the world, especially in the northern hemisphere. Pergelic and Cryic areas are reduced, whereas the Mesic and Thermic soils gain large areas in all three studied scenarios. Implications of the warming patterns might indicate the northward shift of various croplands in regions that until now their cultivation was not possible.

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