Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2009 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Spatial and temporal variability of soil temperature in Cub Hill Baltimore, MD
Savva, Yulia
Co-Authors: Yulia Savva, Jayant Gupchup, Katalin Szlavecz, Andreas Terzis, Alex Szalay, Doug Carlson, Razvan Musaloiu-E., Scott Pitz, Gordon Heisler

Abstract: Soil temperature plays an important role in controlling ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling, respiration and microbial decomposition. Many environmental factors influence soil temperature, and thus make it difficult to interpolate soil temperature at fine and large spatial and temporal scales. These factors include solar radiation, air temperature, aspect, slope, soil types and vegetation covers. We used a wireless sensor network to collect measurements of soil temperature at high temporal and spatial resolutions to develop a soil sampling strategy that would allow interpolation of soil temperature for a given unit of time and area. In our analyses, we used 30-min soil temperature measurements at 10- and 20-cm depths over 1 year at 52 sites around the Cub Hill flux tower north of Baltimore, MD. The sites were selected to include a variety of topographical and vegetation cover conditions, and were located at 10 to 200 m-distances from each other. We estimated variations in soil temperature due to interactions of the factors aspect, slope, site location, and leaf area index using mixed-effect models. Multivariate techniques were applied to soil temperature, autocorrelation, between-site cross-correlations, and individual-site parameters of the models to quantitatively estimate similarities between the sites. The study results include recommendations for future soil temperature sampling by estimating an efficient sampling-time interval and the area over which the soil temperature measurements might be interpolated with high accuracy, depending upon measurementsí depth, topography and vegetation cover.