Trends in the occurrence of soil freeze-thaw cycles in Germany

Soil freeze-thaw cycles in Germany

From 02/2009 to 10/2010

Principal Investigator: Jürgen Kreyling
Staff: Doris Scheibe

Ongoing global warming is theoretically expected to increase the recurrence of soil freezethaw cycles (FTC) in cool-temperate and other high-latitude regions due to decreases in snow cover and increased variability of air temperature. Modeling approaches support this expectation, but measured developments of FTC-frequencies are published only for Canada, where their frequency increased over the last decades. FTC influence plant productivity and competition between plant species. Changes in their occurrence can therefore alter vegetation composition and species distributions. Furthermore, nutrient cycling is altered via physical disruption and changes in microbial activity, leading to nutrient leaching and trace gas loss. These processes indirectly affect human interests (e.g. primary productivity, drinking water quality, or greenhouse gas emissions). FTC currently occur in more than half of the land surface of the northern hemisphere and have strong ecological implications, therefore it is important to explore changes in their occurrence due to climate change. Within this project, soil temperature data from all weather stations of the German Weather Service (DWD) which record such data will be investigated with regard to trends in frequency and magnitude of changes in FTC. Combined with regional climate scenarios (e.g. REMO), current developments will be projected into the future.

Funded by: DFG KR 3309/2-1

List of publications of this Project

Kreyling, J; Henry, HAL: Vanishing winters in Germany: soil frost dynamics and snow cover trends, and ecological implications, Climate Research, 46, 269–276 (2011), doi:10.3354/cr00996 -- Details
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Weather research site
Luftdruck (356m): 949.9 hPa
Lufttemperatur: 9.4 °C
Niederschlag: 4.0 mm/24h
Sonnenschein: <1 h/d

Lufttemperatur: 6.6 °C
Niederschlag: 9.4 mm/24h

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