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The turnover of organic carbon in subsoils. Part 2. Modelling carbon turnover

Jenkinson, D. S. and Coleman, K. (2008) The turnover of organic carbon in subsoils. Part 2. Modelling carbon turnover. European Journal of Soil Science, 59 (2). pp. 400-413. ISSN 1351-0754

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2389.2008.01026.x


A new model, RothPC-1, is described for the turnover of organic C in the top metre of soil. RothPC-1 is a version of RothC-26.3, an earlier model for the turnover of C in topsoils. In RothPC-1 two extra parameters are used to model turnover in the top metre of soil: one, p, which moves organic C down the profile by an advective process, and the other, s, which slows decomposition with depth. RothPC-1 is parameterized and tested using measurements (described in Part 1, this issue) of total organic C and radiocarbon on soil profiles from the Rothamsted long-term field experiments, collected over a period of more than 100 years. RothPC-1 gives fits to measurements of organic C and radiocarbon in the 0-23, 23-46, 46-69 and 69-92 cm layers of soil that are almost all within (or close to) measurement error in two areas of regenerating woodland (Geescroft and Broadbalk Wildernesses) and an area of cultivated land from the Broadbalk Continuous Wheat Experiment. The fits to old grassland (the Park Grass Experiment) are less close. Two other sites that provide the requisite pre- and post-bomb data are also fitted; a prairie Chernozem from Russia and an annual grassland from California. Roth-PC-1 gives a close fit to measurements of organic C and radiocarbon down the Chernozem profile, provided that allowance is made for soil age; with the annual grassland the fit is acceptable in the upper part of the profile, but not in the clay-rich Bt horizon below. Calculations suggest that treating the top metre of soil as a homogeneous unit will greatly overestimate the effects of global warming in accelerating the decomposition of soil C and hence on the enhanced release of CO2 from soil organic matter; more realistic estimates will be obtained from multi-layer models such as RothPC-1.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3679
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