Publication Abstracts

McDermid et al. 2022

McDermid, S.S., E. Weng, M. Puma, B. Cook, T. Hengl, J. Sanderman, G.J.M. De Lannoy, and I. Aleinov, 2022: Soil carbon losses reduce soil moisture in global climate model simulations. Earth Interact., early on-line, doi:10.1175/EI-D-22-0003.1.

Most agricultural soils have experienced substantial soil organic carbon losses in time. These losses motivate recent calls to restore organic carbon in agricultural lands to improve biogeochemical cycling and for climate change mitigation. Declines in organic carbon also reduce soil infiltration and water holding capacity, which may have important effects on regional hydrology and climate. To explore the regional hydroclimate impacts of soil organic carbon changes, we conduct new global climate model experiments with NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE that include spatially-explicit soil organic carbon concentrations associated with different human land management scenarios. Compared to a "no land use" case, a year 2010 soil degradation scenario, in which organic carbon content (OCC, weight %) is reduced by a factor of ∼0.12 on average across agricultural soils, resulted in soil moisture losses between 0.5 and 1 temporal standard deviations over eastern Asia, northern Europe and the eastern USA. In a more extreme idealized scenario where OCC is reduced uniformly by 0.66 across agricultural soils, soil moisture losses exceed one standard deviation in both hemispheres. Within the model, these soil moisture declines occur primarily due to reductions in porosity (and to a lesser extent infiltration) that overall soil water holding capacity. These results demonstrate that changes in soil organic carbon can have meaningful, large-scale effects on regional hydroclimate and should be considered in climate model evaluations and developments. Further, this also suggests that soil restoration efforts targeting the carbon cycle are likely to have additional benefits for improving drought resilience.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={McDermid, S. S. and Weng, E. and Puma, M. and Cook, B. and Hengl, T. and Sanderman, J. and De Lannoy, G. J. M. and Aleinov, I.},
  title={Soil carbon losses reduce soil moisture in global climate model simulations},
  journal={Earth Interact.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - mc07200b
AU  - McDermid, S. S.
AU  - Weng, E.
AU  - Puma, M.
AU  - Cook, B.
AU  - Hengl, T.
AU  - Sanderman, J.
AU  - De Lannoy, G. J. M.
AU  - Aleinov, I.
PY  - 2022
TI  - Soil carbon losses reduce soil moisture in global climate model simulations
JA  - Earth Interact.
DO  - 10.1175/EI-D-22-0003.1
ER  -

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