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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Global maps of soil temperature

Lembrechts, Jonas J.; van den Hoogen, Johan; Grelle, Achim; Järveoja, Järvi; Nilsson, Mats; Peichl, Matthias; Stephan, Jörg; Nijs, Ivan; Lenoir, Jonathan

Abstract

Research in global change ecology relies heavily on global climatic grids derived from estimates of air temperature in open areas at around 2 m above the ground. These climatic grids do not reflect conditions below vegetation canopies and near the ground surface, where critical ecosystem functions occur and most terrestrial species reside. Here, we provide global maps of soil temperature and bioclimatic variables at a 1-km2 resolution for 0–5 and 5–15 cm soil depth. These maps were created by calculating the difference (i.e. offset) between in situ soil temperature measurements, based on time series from over 1200 1-km2 pixels (summarized from 8519 unique temperature sensors) across all the world's major terrestrial biomes, and coarse-grained air temperature estimates from ERA5-Land (an atmospheric reanalysis by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts). We show that mean annual soil temperature differs markedly from the corresponding gridded air temperature, by up to 10°C (mean = 3.0 ± 2.1°C), with substantial variation across biomes and seasons. Over the year, soils in cold and/or dry biomes are substantially warmer (+3.6 ± 2.3°C) than gridded air temperature, whereas soils in warm and humid environments are on average slightly cooler (−0.7 ± 2.3°C). The observed substantial and biome-specific offsets emphasize that the projected impacts of climate and climate change on near-surface biodiversity and ecosystem functioning are inaccurately assessed when air rather than soil temperature is used, especially in cold environments. The global soil-related bioclimatic variables provided here are an important step forward for any application in ecology and related disciplines. Nevertheless, we highlight the need to fill remaining geographic gaps by collecting more in situ measurements of microclimate conditions to further enhance the spatiotemporal resolution of global soil temperature products for ecological applications.

Published in

Global Change Biology
2021, volume: 28, number: 9, pages: 3110-3144

Authors' information

Lembrechts, Jonas J.
University of Antwerp
van den Hoogen, Johan
ETH Zurich
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Species Information Centre
Nijs, Ivan
University of Antwerp
Lenoir, Jonathan
University of Picardie Jules Verne

UKÄ Subject classification

Soil Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16060

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/115116