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Soil thermal dynamics, snow cover, and frozen depth under five temperature treatments in an ombrotrophic bog: Constrained forecast with data assimilation

Journal Article
Year of Publication
2017
Author
Journal
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Volume
122
Issue
8
Number of Pages
2046-2063
Publisher
ISSN Number
2169-8953, 2169-8961
Abstract
Accurate simulation of soil thermal dynamics is essential for realistic prediction of soil biogeochemical responses to climate change. To facilitate ecological forecasting at the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Climatic and Environmental change site, we incorporated a soil temperature module into a Terrestrial ECOsystem (TECO) model by accounting for surface energy budget, snow dynamics, and heat transfer among soil layers and during freeze-thaw events. We conditioned TECO with detailed soil temperature and snow depth observations through data assimilation before the model was used for forecasting. The constrained model reproduced variations in observed temperature from different soil layers, the magnitude of snow depth, the timing of snowfall and snowmelt, and the range of frozen depth. The conditioned TECO forecasted probabilistic distributions of soil temperature dynamics in six soil layers, snow, and frozen depths under temperature treatments of +0.0, +2.25, +4.5, +6.75, and +9.0°C. Air warming caused stronger elevation in soil temperature during summer than winter due to winter snow and ice. And soil temperature increased more in shallow soil layers in summer in response to air warming. Whole ecosystem warming (peat + air warmings) generally reduced snow and frozen depths. The accuracy of forecasted snow and frozen depths relied on the precision of weather forcing. Uncertainty is smaller for forecasting soil temperature but large for snow and frozen depths. Timely and effective soil thermal forecast, constrained through data assimilation that combines process-based understanding and detailed observations, provides boundary conditions for better predictions of future biogeochemical cycles.
DOI
10.1002/2016jg003725

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