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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Key functional soil types explain data aggregation effects on simulated yield, soil carbon, drainage and nitrogen leaching at a regional scale

Coucheney, Elsa; Eckersten, Henrik; Hoffmann, Holger; Jansson, Per-Erik; Gaiser, Thomas; Ewert, Franck; Lewan, Elisabet


The effects of aggregating soil data (DAE) by areal majority of soil mapping units was explored for regional simulations with the soil-vegetation model CoupModel for a region in Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia). DAE were analysed for wheat yield, drainage, soil carbon mineralisation and nitrogen leaching below the root zone. DAE were higher for soil C mineralization and N leaching than for yield and drainage and were strongly related to the presence of specific soils within the study region. These soil types were associated to extreme simulated output variables compared to the mean variable in the region. The spatial aggregation of these key functional soils within sub-regions additionally influenced the DAE. A spatial analysis of their spatial pattern (i.e. their presence/absence, coverage and aggregation) can help in defining the appropriate grid resolution that would minimize the error caused by aggregating soil input data in regional simulations.


Soil properties; Soil-crop models; Input data aggregation; Sensitivity analysis; Soil spatial pattern; Upscaling

Published in

2018, Volume: 318, pages: 167-181