Thermal properties of Cambisols in mountain regions under different vegetation covers

Doneva K., Kercheva M., Dimitrov E., Velizarova E., Glushkova M. (2022): Thermal properties of Cambisols in mountain regions under different vegetation covers. Soil & Water Res., 17: 113−122. 

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Soil thermal properties regulate the thermal and water balance and influence the soil temperature distribution. The aim of the current study is  to  present data on the changes in the thermal properties of Cambisols at different ratios between the water content and the air in the pore space under different vegetation covers in mountain regions. The undisturbed soil samples were taken from the surface soil layers under grassland, deciduous and coniferous forests in three experimental stations of the Forest Research Institute – Gabra in Lozen Mountain, Govedartsi in Rila Mountain and Igralishte in Maleshevska Mountain. The soil thermal conductivity (λ), the thermal diffusivity (α) and the volumetric heat capacity (Cv) were measured with the SH-1 sensor of  a  KD2Pro device at different matric potentials in laboratory conditions. The thermal conductivity of the investigated soils was also measured with the TR-1 sensor of  a  KD2Pro device at the transitory soil moisture in field conditions. An increase in the thermal properties with the soil water content was best pronounced for λ and depended inversely on the total porosity. As the total porosity increased with the soil organic carbon content and decreased with the skeleton content, the lowest value of λ was established in the surface horizons of Dystric Cambisols (Humic) in the experimental station in Govedartsi. The soil thermal conductivity increased with the depth under the deciduous forest (Gabra and Igralishte) due to the lower soil organic carbon content (SOC) and the total porosity. There were no such changes in the subsurface horizon under the grassed associations. The increase in the heat capacity with the water content depended on the SOC to less extent. In the horizons with a SOC of less than 1.5%, the changes in the thermal diffusivity over the whole range of wetness were 1.7 times higher than those with a higher SOC.

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