Changing climate changes soils

Posted: 11 Jan 2017 10:38 AM PST  full article here

Researchers have used digital techniques to predict how one vital soil characteristic, soil organic carbon, may be altered by climate change…The researchers used 12 climate change models to predict how soil organic carbon levels vary with climate change. The models used in the study reflected a full range of projected global climate outcomes. They were also applicable to the specific study region of New South Wales in southeast Australia. Results were varied. “A majority of models showed a decline in soil organic carbon with climate change,” states Gray. “But a few of the models actually predicted an increase.”…The researchers also discovered that the extent to which soil organic carbon changes varied across soil types, current climate, and land use regimes. For example, the projected average decline of soil organic carbon was less than one ton per hectare for sandy, low-fertility soils in dry conditions under cropping regimes. It was 15 times as much for clay-rich, fertile soils in wet conditions under native vegetation regimes….

Jonathan M. Gray, Thomas F.A. Bishop. Change in Soil Organic Carbon Stocks under 12 Climate Change Projections over New South Wales, Australia. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 2016; 80 (5): 1296 DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2016.02.0038