The hysteresis response of soil CO2 concentration and soil respiration to soil temperature

Quan Zhang, Gabriel G Katul, Ram Oren, Edoardo Daly, Stefano Manzoni, Dawen Yang

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Diurnal hysteresis between soil temperature (Ts) and both CO2 concentration ([CO2]) and soil respiration rate (Rs) were reported across different field experiments. However, the causes of these hysteresis patterns remain a subject of debate, with biotic and abiotic factors both invoked as explanations. To address these issues, a CO2 gas transport model is developed by combining a layer-wise mass conservation equation for subsurface gas phase CO2, Fickian diffusion for gas transfer, and a CO2 source term that depends on soil temperature, moisture, and photosynthetic rate. Using this model, a hierarchy of numerical experiments were employed to disentangle the causes of the hysteretic [CO2]-Ts and CO2 flux
Ts (i.e., F-Ts) relations. Model results show that gas transport alone can introduce both [CO2]-Ts and F-Ts hystereses and also confirm prior findings that heat flow in soils lead to [CO2] and F being out of phase with Ts, thereby providing another reason for the occurrence of both hystereses. The area (Ahys) of the [CO2]-Ts hysteresis near the surface increases, while the Ahys of the Rs-Ts hysteresis decreases as soils become wetter.
Moreover, a time-lagged carbon input from photosynthesis deformed the [CO2]-Ts and Rs-Ts patterns, causing a change in the loop direction from counterclockwise to clockwise with decreasing time lag. An asymmetric 8-shaped pattern emerged as the transition state between the two loop directions. Tracing the pattern and direction of the hysteretic [CO2]-Ts and Rs-Ts relations can provide new ways to fingerprint the effects of photosynthesis stimulation on soil microbial activity and detect time lags between rhizospheric respiration and photosynthesis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1605 - 1618
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2015

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