Diurnal Freeze-Thaw Cycles Modify Winter Soil Respiration in a Desert Shrub-Land Ecosystem
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CitationLiu Peng. Zha Tianshan. Jia Xin. Wang Ben. Guo Xiaonan. Zhang Yuqing. Wu Bin. Yang Qiang. Peltola Heli. (2016). Diurnal Freeze-Thaw Cycles Modify Winter Soil Respiration in a Desert Shrub-Land Ecosystem. Forests, 7 (8) , 161. 10.3390/f7080161.
Winter soil respiration (Rs) is becoming a significant component of annual carbon budgets with more warming in winter than summer. However, little is known about the controlling mechanisms of winter Rs in dryland. We made continuous measurements of Rs in four microsites (non-crust (BS), lichen (LC), moss (MC), and a mixture of moss and lichen (ML)) in a desert shrub-land ecosystem northern China, to investigate the causes of Rs dynamics in winter. The mean winter Rs ranged from 0.10 to 0.17 µmol CO2 m−2·s−1 across microsites, with the highest value in BS. Winter Q10 (known as the increase in respiration rate per 10 °C increase in temperature) values (2.8–19) were much higher than those from the growing season (1.5). Rs and Q10 were greatly enhanced in freeze-thaw cycles compared to frozen days. Diurnal patterns of Rs between freeze-thaw and frozen days differed. Although the freeze-thaw period was relatively short, its cumulative Rs contributed significantly to winter Rs. The presence of biocrust might induce lower temperature, thus having fewer freeze-thaw cycles relative to bare soil, leading to the lower Rs for microsites with biocrusts. In conclusion, winter Rs in drylands was sensitive to soil temperature (Ts) and Ts-induced freeze-thaw cycles. The temperature impact on Rs varied among soil cover types. Winter Rs in drylands may become more important as the climate is continuously getting warmer.