Main content area

Water storage effect of soil freeze-thaw process and its impacts on soil hydro-thermal regime variations

Yang, Kai, Wang, Chenghai
Agricultural and forest meteorology 2019 v.265 pp. 280-294
climate, energy, evaporation, freeze-thaw cycles, global warming, heat, latent heat, models, soil temperature, soil water, soil water content, spring, uncertainty, water storage, China
In the soil freeze/thaw phenomenon, the soil water phase and energy budget change, which can affect the soil-vegetation-atmosphere system. Herein, the basic role of freeze–thaw–process (FTP) in soil water and heat transport and its impact on soil moisture and temperature variation were investigated using the observations and numerical experiments with and without FTP in Community Land Model version 4.5 (CLM4.5) on the Tibetan Plateau (TP). The results averaged over the whole TP revealed that no soil FTP (i.e., no water phase change occurred) resulted in lower surface soil temperature by about -1.02 ℃ in freeze-thaw (FT) period, while surface soil temperature is higher by about 0.91 ℃ and surface soil moisture is drier by about -0.02 mm3/mm3 in after-thaw (AT) period. Soil FTP has a water storage effect, the storage index (SI) can reach 0.95 at surface layer. Without soil FTP, the surface soil water content at the AT period can be reduced by ∼10% (SI is decreased by about -0.05) as a result of enhanced evaporation; the soil moisture memory was shortened by about -20 days in March. Accordingly, surface latent heat decreased by -1.07 W/m2, while the surface sensible heat increased by 4.72 W/m2. The effects of FTP on soil water and heat transport at deep layer are distinguished from that at the surface layer. These imply that the biases of soil temperature and moisture simulation in models during FT period could lead to large uncertainties in estimating climate effects of TP. Under climate warming background in recent decades, with the delaying of soil freeze-beginning date and advancing of soil thaw-end date, changes of soil FTP regime would lead to loss of spring soil moisture.