Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 1001–1011 | Cite as

Parameterizing soil organic carbon’s impacts on soil porosity and thermal parameters for Eastern Tibet grasslands

  • YingYing Chen
  • Kun Yang
  • WenJun Tang
  • Jun Qin
  • Long Zhao
Research Paper


This study investigates the stratification of soil thermal properties induced by soil organic carbon (SOC) and its impacts on the parameterization of the thermal properties. Soil parameters were measured for alpine grassland stations and North China flux stations, with a total of 34 stations and 77 soil profiles. Measured data indicate that the topsoils of alpine grasslands contain high SOC contents than underlying soil layers, which leads to higher soil porosity values and lower thermal conductivity and bulk density values in the topsoils. However, this stratification is not evident at the lowland stations due to low SOC contents. Evaluations against measured data show that three thermal conductivity schemes used in land surface models severely overestimate the values for soils with high SOC content (i.e. topsoils of alpine grassland), but they are better for soils with low SOC content. A new parameterization is then developed to take the impacts of SOC into account. The new one can well estimate the soil thermal conductivity values in both low and high SOC content cases, and therefore, it is a potential candidate of thermal conductivity scheme to be used in land surface models.


soil organic carbon soil thermal parameters alpine grassland parameterization 


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • YingYing Chen
    • 1
  • Kun Yang
    • 1
  • WenJun Tang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jun Qin
    • 1
  • Long Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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