Date of this Version
Published in Climate Change: An Interdisciplinary, International Journal Devoted to the Description, Causes and Implications of Climatic Change 120 (2013), pp. 405-418; doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-0786-4
This study aims to evaluate soil climate quantitatively under present and projected climatic conditions across Central Europe (12.1°–18.9° E and 46.8°–51.1° N) and the U.S. Central Plains (90°–104° W and 37°–49° N), with a special focus on soil temperature, hydric regime, drought risk and potential productivity (assessed as a period suitable for crop growth). The analysis was completed for the baselines (1961–1990 for Europe and 1985–2005 for the U.S.) and time horizons of 2025, 2050 and 2100 based on the outputs of three global circulation models using two levels of climate sensitivity. The results indicate that the soil climate (soil temperature and hydric soil regimes) will change dramatically in both regions, with significant consequences for soil genesis. However, the predicted changes of the pathways are very uncertain because of the range of future climate systems predicted by climate models. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that the risk of unfavorable dry years will increase, resulting in greater risk of soil erosion and lower productivity. The projected increase in the variability of dry and wet events combined with the uncertainty (particularly in the U.S.) poses a challenge for selecting the most appropriate adaptation strategies and for setting adequate policies. The results also suggest that the soil resources are likely be under increased pressure from changes in climate.
Includes Supplementary Materials.