The ever-increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration is a key driver of modern global warming. However, the low heat capacity of atmosphere and strong convection processes in the troposphere both limit heat retention. Given the higher heat capacity and CO2 concentration in soil compared to the atmosphere, the direct contributions of soil to the greenhouse effect may be significant. By experimentally manipulating CO2 concentrations both in the soil and the atmosphere, we demonstrated that the soil-retained heat and the slower soil heat transmission decrease the amount of heat energy leaking from the earth. Furthermore, the soil air temperature was affected by soil CO2 concentration, with the highest value recorded at 7500 ppm CO2. This study indicates that soil and soil CO2, together with atmospheric CO2, play a crucial role in the greenhouse effect. The spatial and temporal heterogeneity of soils and soil CO2 should be further investigated, given their potentially significant influence on global climate change.
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We thank G. Li, J.J. Yu, C C. Zhao and X.X. Chen for help in field experiment, and Drs. Xiaoming Zou, Ming Xu, Youming Chen for helpful discussion in manuscript preparation. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41877054, 31570516), the Zhongyuan Scholar Program (182101510005) and the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams.
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Zhang, W., Yu, C., Shen, Z. et al. An ignored key link in greenhouse effect: Soil and soil CO2 slow heat loss. Soil Ecol. Lett. 2, 308–316 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42832-020-0047-1
- Soil CO2 concentration
- Soil temperature
- Atmosphere temperature
- Soil heat loop
- Earth heat balance