Combined effects of short-term rainfall patterns and soil texture on nitrogen cycling -- A Modeling Analysis

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Precipitation variability and magnitude are expected to change in many parts of the world over the 21st century. We examined the potential effects of intra-annual rainfall patterns on soil nitrogen (N) transport and transformation in the unsaturated soil zone using a deterministic dynamic modeling approach. The model (TOUGHREACT-N), which has been tested and applied in several experimental and observational systems, mechanistically accounts for microbial activity, soil-moisture dynamics that respond to precipitation variability, and gaseous and aqueous tracer transport in the soil. Here, we further tested and calibrated the model against data from a precipitation variability experiment in a tropical system ... continued below

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Gu, C. & Riley, W.J. November 1, 2009.

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Precipitation variability and magnitude are expected to change in many parts of the world over the 21st century. We examined the potential effects of intra-annual rainfall patterns on soil nitrogen (N) transport and transformation in the unsaturated soil zone using a deterministic dynamic modeling approach. The model (TOUGHREACT-N), which has been tested and applied in several experimental and observational systems, mechanistically accounts for microbial activity, soil-moisture dynamics that respond to precipitation variability, and gaseous and aqueous tracer transport in the soil. Here, we further tested and calibrated the model against data from a precipitation variability experiment in a tropical system in Costa Rica. The model was then used to simulate responses of soil moisture, microbial dynamics, nitrogen (N) aqueous and gaseous species, N leaching, and N trace-gas emissions to changes in rainfall patterns; the effect of soil texture was also examined. The temporal variability of nitrate leaching and NO, N{sub 2}, and N{sub 2}O effluxes were significantly influenced by rainfall dynamics. Soil texture combined with rainfall dynamics altered soil moisture dynamics, and consequently regulated soil N responses to precipitation changes. The clay loam soil more effectively buffered water stress during relatively long intervals between precipitation events, particularly after a large rainfall event. Subsequent soil N aqueous and gaseous losses showed either increases or decreases in response to increasing precipitation variability due to complex soil moisture dynamics. For a high rainfall scenario, high precipitation variability resulted in as high as 2.4-, 2.4-, 1.2-, and 13-fold increases in NH{sub 3}, NO, N{sub 2}O and NO{sub 3}{sup -} fluxes, respectively, in clay loam soil. In sandy loam soil, however, NO and N{sub 2}O fluxes decreased by 15% and 28%, respectively, in response to high precipitation variability. Our results demonstrate that soil N cycling responses to increasing precipitation variability depends on precipitation amount and soil texture, and that accurate prediction of future N cycling and gas effluxes requires models with relatively sophisticated representation of the relevant processes.

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Contaminant Hydrology; Journal Volume: 112; Journal Issue: 1-4; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 2010

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  • Report No.: LBNL-3338E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 983200
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1014725

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  • November 1, 2009

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  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Oct. 17, 2017, 6:04 p.m.

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Gu, C. & Riley, W.J. Combined effects of short-term rainfall patterns and soil texture on nitrogen cycling -- A Modeling Analysis, article, November 1, 2009; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1014725/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.