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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Soil temperature responses to climate change along a gradient of upland-riparian transect in boreal forest

Oni, S. K.; Mieres, F.; Futter, M. N.; Laudon, H.


There is growing evidence of climate change impacts on northern ecosystems. While most climate change studies base their assessments on air temperature, spatial variation of soil temperature responses have not been fully examined as a metric of climate change. Here we examined spatial variations of soil temperature responses to an ensemble of regional climate model (RCM) projections at multiple depths in upland and riparian zones in the Swedish boreal forest. Modeling showed a stronger influence of air temperature on riparian soil temperature than was simulated for upland soils. The RCM ensemble projected a warming range of 4.7-6.0 degrees C in riparian and 4.3-5.7 degrees C in upland soils. However, soils were slightly colder in the riparian zone during winter. While the historical record showed that upland soils are about 0.4 degrees C warmer than the riparian soils, this may be reversed in the future as model projections showed that on an annual basis, riparian soils might be slightly warmer by 0.2 to 0.4 degrees C than upland soils. However, upland soils could warm up earlier (April) compared to riparian soils (May).

Published in

Climatic Change
2017, Volume: 143, number: 1-2, pages: 27-41
Publisher: SPRINGER