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One feature of climate warming is that increases in daily minimum temperature are greater than those in daily maximum temperature. Changes in soil microclimate in response to the asymmetrically diurnal warming scenarios can help to explain responses of ecosystem processes. In the present study, we examined the impacts of day, night, and continuous warming on soil microclimate in a temperate steppe in northern China. Our results showed that day, night, and continuous warming (approximately 13Wm(-2) with constant power mode) significantly increased daily mean soil temperature at 10cm depth by 0.71, 0.78, and 1.71 degrees C, respectively. Night warming caused greater increases in nighttime mean and daily minimum soil temperatures (0.74 and 0.99 degrees C) than day warming did (0.60 and 0.66 degrees C). However, there were no differences in the increases in daytime mean and daily maximum soil temperature between day (0.81 and 1.13 degrees C) and night (0.81 and 1.10 degrees C) warming. The differential effects of day and night warming on soil temperature varied with environmental factors, including photosynthetic active radiation, vapor-pressure deficit, and wind speed. When compared with the effect of continuous warming on soil temperature, the summed effects of day and night warming were lower during daytime, but greater at night, thus leading to equality at daily scale. Mean volumetric soil moisture at the depth of 0-40cm significantly decreased under continuous warming in both 2006 (1.44 V/V%) and 2007 (0.76 V/V%). Day warming significantly reduced volumetric soil moisture only in 2006, whereas night warming had no effect on volumetric soil moisture in both 2006 and 2007. Given the different diurnal warming patterns and variability of environmental factors among ecosystems, these results highlight the importance of incorporating the differential impacts of day and night warming on soil microclimate into the predictions of terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate warming. Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Jianyang Xia, Shiping Chen, Shiqiang Wan. Impacts of day versus night warming on soil microclimate: results from a semiarid temperate steppe. The Science of the total environment. 2010 Jun 15;408(14):2807-16

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PMID: 20409574

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