Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2020, Vol. 12 Issue (4): 690-700    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0018-5
Research article     
Impacts of wind erosion and seasonal changes on soil carbon dioxide emission in southwestern Iran
1 Rangeland Research Division, Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Tehran 13185116, Iran
2 Rangeland Sciences, Gorgan University of Agricultural Researches and Natural Resources, Gorgan 4918943464, Iran
3 Desert Studies Faculty, Semnan University, Semnan 3513119111, Iran
Download: HTML     PDF(412KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


Wind erosion is one of the main drivers of soil loss in the world, which affects 20 million hectare land of Iran. Besides the soil loss, wind erosion contributes to carbon dioxide emission from the soil into the atmosphere. The objective of this study is to evaluate monthly and seasonal changes in carbon dioxide emission in four classes i.e., low, moderate, severe and very severe soil erosion and the interactions between air temperature and wind erosion in relation to carbon dioxide emission in the Bordekhun region, Boushehr Province, southwestern Iran. Wind erosion intensities were evaluated using IRIFR (Iran Research Institute of Forests and Ranges) model, in which four classes of soil erosion were identified. Afterward, we measured carbon dioxide emission on a monthly basis and for a period of one year using alkali traps in each class of soil erosion. Data on emission levels and erosion classes were analyzed as a factorial experiment in a completely randomized design with twelve replications in each treatment. The highest rate of emission occurred in July (4.490 g CO2/(m2?d)) in severely eroded lands and the least in January (0.086 g CO2/(m2?d)) in low eroded lands. Therefore, it is resulted that increasing erosion intensity causes an increase in soil carbon dioxide emission rate at severe erosion intensity. Moreover, the maximum amount of carbon dioxide emission happened in summer and the minimum in winter. Soil carbon dioxide emission was just related to air temperature without any relationship with soil moisture content; since changes of soil moisture in the wet and dry seasons were not high enough to affect soil microorganisms and respiration in dry areas. In general, there are complex and multiple relationships between various factors associated with soil erosion and carbon dioxide emission. Global warming causes events that lead to more erosion, which in turn increases greenhouse gas emission, and rising greenhouse gases will cause more global warming. The result of this study demonstrated the synergistic effect of wind erosion and global climate warming towards carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere.

Key wordsalkali trap      arid areas      global warming      IRIFR model      soil biology     
Received: 05 November 2019      Published: 10 July 2020
Corresponding Authors: SADEGHIPOUR Ahmad     E-mail:
About author: *Corresponding author: Ahmad SADEGHIPOUR (E-mail:
Cite this article:

Nadia KAMALI, Hamid SIROOSI, Ahmad SADEGHIPOUR. Impacts of wind erosion and seasonal changes on soil carbon dioxide emission in southwestern Iran. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(4): 690-700.

URL:     OR

Fig. 1 Sampling points of carbon dioxide emission in the Bordekhun region, Iran
Wind erosion class Rate of erosion Sum of calculated score Sediment discharge (t/(hm2?a))
I Slight <25 <2.5
II Low 25-50 2.5-5.0
III Medium 50-75 5.0-15.0
IV Severe 75-100 15.0-60.0
V Very severe >100 >60.0
Table 1 Definition of class and estimation of sediment discharge of wind erosion using IRIFR (Iran Research Institute of Forests and Ranges) model
Factor Indicator Score range Overall score
Petrology (P) Hard igneous rocks; quartzite; massive limestone and granite 0-2 0-10
Granular texture rocks; hard limestone rock and sandstone 2-4
Marl and clay; medium-grained alluvium; shale and conglomerate 4-7
Fine-grained alluvium; coastal sands; aeolian deposits and
clay plains
Land morphology (LM) Mountain 0-2 0-10
Hill 2-4
Pediment 4-7
Flat plain 7-10
Velocity and quality of the wind (W) Average wind velocity at 10 m, less than 4.5 m/s and no dusty severe winds
No sand storm
0-5 0-20
Average wind velocity at 10 m, between 4.5 and 5.0 m/s and no dusty sever winds, but can make dust
Occurrence of sand storms in some years
Average wind velocity at 10 m, between 5.0 and 5.5 m/s; occurrence of one dust storm in the year and
1-5 d of sand storm in the year
Average wind velocity at 10 m, more than 5.5 m/s and dusty severe winds
More than 5 days of sand storms in a year
Soil and its surface (S) More than 60% of the soil surface is covered by coarse pebble, cemented or crusted -5-0 -5-15
About 40%-60% of the soil surface is covered by coarse to medium pebbles 0-5
Less than 40% of the soil surface is covered by fine pebbles and topsoil texture is sandy-loam or loam 5-10
No pebble is found on the soil surface and topsoil texture is loam to sandy 10-15
Density of vegetation (V) Vegetation cover more than 50% and uniform plant distribution -5-0 -5-15
Vegetation cover between 30% and 50% 0-5
Vegetation cover between 10% and 30% 5-10
Vegetation cover less than 10% 10-15
Erosive effect of soil surface (E) No sign of wind erosion is found on the surface soil 0-5 0-20
Limited signs of wind erosion are found on the surface soil 5-10
Relatively extensive signs of wind erosion are found in the surface soil 10-15
Extensive signs of wind erosion are found on the surface soil
Active Nebkha dunes are found in the area
Soil dampness (D) Soil is always wet under the influence of groundwater
Wet-zone playa
-5-0 -5-10
Surface soil is wet at some times of a year 0-4
Surface soil is wet occasionally, but dries rapidly 4-7
Surface soil is completely dry with rapid drainage 7-10
Type and dispersion of aeolian deposits (AD) Signs of wind deposits are not seen as sand dunes 0-2 0-10
Signs of wind deposits are seen as semi-active nebkha dunes and Rebdou 2-4
Wind deposits like active and non-active sand dunes or ripple marks are seen in the area 4-7
Active sand dunes, nebkhas and ripple marks are seen in the area 7-10
Land use management (LU) Sparse forest and rangelands with over exploitation and agricultural lands with less than 3 months fallow without a windbreaker 0-5 0-10
Rangelands with intense overgrazing
Agricultural lands with more than 3 months fallow without a windbreaker
Bare lands and deserts having sparse or no vegetation cover
Abandoned and plowed agricultural lands
Table 2 Method of scoring factors of wind erosion using IRIFR model
Fig. 2 Photo for collecting carbon dioxide emission in the Bordekhun region, Iran
No. Geomorphologic facies P LM W S V E D AD LU SS Eclass
1 Rock outcrop with debris 4 4 4 -2 8 3 4 3 -2 26 II
2 Coarse debris 6 4 8 -4 15 3 4 2 -3 35 II
3 Water erosion 5 4 8 0 8 2 6 4 -2 35 II
4 Irregular slope 6 5 14 5 0 4 6 5 7 52 III
5 Gully erosion 9 9 18 14 7 18 5 7 14 101 V
6 Sand beds 10 10 20 15 15 10 10 10 5 105 V
7 Alluvium of fine grain 9 7 20 4 14 8 8 7 5 82 IV
8 Sand dunes 10 10 20 15 15 10 9 10 5 104 V
9 Argillaceous area 10 10 20 10 12 10 10 10 0 92 IV
10 Side erosion 8 6 15 3 8 6 5 4 0 55 III
11 Rock outcrop 7 4 10 4 7 4 6 4 -2 44 II
12 Alluvial fan 8 8 19 10 3 8 9 5 5 75 III
13 Wind erosion 7 10 19 10 11 10 5 5 6 83 IV
14 Alluvium of coarse grains 9 10 18 15 14 9 9 7 10 101 V
15 Slight rill erosion 10 9 18 15 13 10 10 7 11 103 V
16 Alluvium of medium grains 7 9 17 9 10 7 10 5 5 79 IV
Table 3 Evaluation of wind erosion using IRIFR model
Fig. 3 Wind erosion classes using IRIFR model. II, low erosion; III, medium erosion; IV, severe erosion; V, very severe erosion.
Source Sum of square df Mean square F Sig.
Corrected model 346.228 47 7.367 185.497 0.000
Intercept 375.870 1 375.870 9464.806 0.000
Month 246.564 11 22.415 564.431 0.000
Erosion 43.937 3 14.646 368.790 0.000
Month×Erosion 55.727 33 1.689 42.523 0.000
Error 20.968 528 0.040
Total 743.066 576
Corrected total 367.196 575
Table 4 Result of ANOVA for carbon dioxide emission in different months and wind erosion classes
Fig. 4 Soil carbon dioxide emission in different months and wind erosion classes (low, medium, severe and very severe)
Wind erosion class Air temperature Soil moisture
Low 0.686* -0.534
Medium 0.629* -0.545
Severe 0.793** -0.585
Very severe 0.711** -0.503
Table 5 Pearson's correlation coefficients of wind erosion classes with air temperature and soil moisture
[1]   Ahmadi H. 1998. Applied Geomorphology (Desert-Wind Erosion). Tehran: University of Tehran Publication, 1-706. (in Persian)
[2]   Amiraslani F, Dragovich D. 2011. Combating desertification in Iran over the last 50 years: an overview of changing approaches. Journal of Environmental Management, 92(1): 1-13.
doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.08.012 pmid: 20855149
[3]   Anderson J P E. 1982. Soil respiration. In: Page A L, Miller R H, Keeney D R. Methods of Soil Analysis, Chemical and Microbiological Properties, Agronomy Monograph 9.2. Madison: American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, 831-846.
[4]   Bajracharya R M, Lal R, Kimble J M. 2000. Erosion effects on carbon dioxide concentration and carbon flux from an Ohio alfisol. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 64(2): 694-700.
[5]   Bennett H H. 1939. Soil Conservation. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1-993.
[6]   Berhe A A, Harte J, Harden J W, et al. 2007. The significance of the erosion-induced terrestrial carbon sink. BioScience, 57(4): 337-346.
[7]   Chappell A, Baldock J, Sanderman J. 2016. The global significance of omitting soil erosion from soil organic carbon cycling schemes. Nature Climate Change, 6: 187-19.
[8]   Dijkstra, F A, Morgan J A, Follett R F, et al. 2013. Climate change reduces the net sink of CH4 and N2O in a semiarid grassland. Global Change Biology, 19(6): 1816-1826.
doi: 10.1111/gcb.12182 pmid: 23505264
[9]   Fortin M C, Rochette P, Pattey E. 1996. Soil carbon dioxide fluxes from conventional and no-tillage small-grain cropping systems. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 60(5): 1541-1547.
[10]   Giorgi F. 2006. Climate change hot spots. Geophysical Research Letters, 33(8): L08707.
[11]   Inubushi K, Furukawa Y, Hadi A, et al. 2003. Seasonal changes of CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes in relation to land-use change in tropical peatlands located in coastal area of South Kalimantan. Chemosphere, 52(3): 603-608.
doi: 10.1016/S0045-6535(03)00242-X pmid: 12738298
[12]   Jacks G V, Whyte R O. 1939. The Rape of the Earth. New York: Arno Press, 1-339.
[13]   Johnson D, Leake J R, Lee J A, et al. 1998. Changes in soil microbial biomass and microbial activities in response to 7 years simulated pollutant nitrogen deposition on a heathland and two grasslands. Environmental Pollution, 103(2-3): 239-250.
doi: 10.1016/S0269-7491(98)00115-8
[14]   Joneidi H, Sadeghipour A, Kamali N, et al. 2015. Effects of land use change on soil carbon sequestration and emissions (case study: arid rangelands of Eivanakei, Semnan Province). Journal of Natural Environment, 68(2): 191-200. (in Persian)
[15]   Karmakar R, Das I, Dutta D, et al. 2016. Potential effects of climate change on soil properties: a review. Science International, 4(2): 51-73.
doi: 10.17311/sciintl.2016.51.73
[16]   Kuhn N J, Hoffmann T, Schwanghart W, et al. 2009. Agricultural soil erosion and global carbon cycle: controversy over? Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34(7): 1033-1038.
[17]   Lagomarsino A, Agnelli A E, Pastorelli R, et al. 2016. Past water management affected GHG production and microbial community pattern in Italian rice paddy soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 93: 17-27.
doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.10.016
[18]   Lal R. 1998. Soil erosion impact on agronomic productivity and environment quality. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 17(4): 319-464.
doi: 10.1080/07352689891304249
[19]   Lal R. 2003. Soil erosion and the global carbon budget. Environment International, 29(4): 437-450.
doi: 10.1016/S0160-4120(02)00192-7 pmid: 12705941
[20]   Lal R, Griffin M, Apt J, et al. 2004. Response to comments on ''managing soil carbon''. Science, 305(5690): 1567.
doi: 10.1126/science.1100273 pmid: 15361608
[21]   Lal R. 2019. Accelerated soil erosion as a source of atmospheric CO2. Soil and Tillage Research, 188: 35-40.
[22]   Leiber-Sauheitl K, Fu R, Freibauer M. 2013. High greenhouse gas fluxes from grassland on Histic Gleysol along soil carbon and drainage gradients. Biogeosciences Discussions, 10(7): 11283-11317.
[23]   Leifeld J, Ammann C, Neftel A, et al. 2011. A comparison of repeated soil inventory and carbon flux budget to detect soil carbon stock changes after conversion from cropland to grasslands. Global Change Biology, 17(11): 3366-3375.
[24]   Lu X Y, Fan J H, Yan Y, et al. 2013. Responses of soil CO2 fluxes to short-term experimental warming in alpine steppe ecosystem, northern Tibet. PLoS ONE, 8(3): e59054.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059054 pmid: 23536854
[25]   Modarres R. 2008. Regional maximum wind speed frequency analysis for the arid and semi-arid region of Iran. Journal of Arid Environments, 72(7): 1329-1342.
[26]   Montgomery D R. 2007. Soil erosion and agricultural sustainability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(33): 13268-13272.
[27]   Mosaffaie J, Talebi A. 2014. A statistical view to the water erosion in Iran. Extension and Development of Watershed Management, 2(5): 9-18. (in Persian)
[28]   Oechel W C, Vourlitis G L, Hastings S J, et al. 2000. Acclimation of ecosystem CO2 exchange in the Alaskan Arctic in response to decadal climate warming. Nature, 406: 978-981.
doi: 10.1038/35023137 pmid: 10984048
[29]   Oldeman L R. 1994. The global extent of soil degradation. In: Greenland D J, Szabolcs I. Soil Resilience and Sustainable Land Use. Wallingford: CAB International, 99-118.
[30]   Pereira J, Figueiredo N, Goufo P, et al. 2013. Effects of elevated temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration on the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from Portuguese flooded rice fields. Atmospheric Environment, 80: 464-471.
[31]   Quinton J N, Govers G, van Oost K, et al. 2010. The impact of agricultural soil erosion on biogeochemical cycling. Nature Geoscience, 3: 311-314.
[32]   Rahimi D M, Erfanzadeh R, Joneidi J H. 2013. Impact of land use changes from rangeland to rain-fed land on soil organic matter and nitrogen in Kermanshah and Kordestan provinces (Case study: Lille, Ravansar and Razavr watersheds). Rangeland, 7(2): 158-167. (in Persian)
[33]   Ran L, Lu X X, Xin Z. 2014. Erosion-induced massive organic carbon burial and carbon emission in the Yellow River basin, China. Biogeosciences, 11(4): 945-959.
doi: 10.5194/bg-11-945-2014
[34]   Renwick W H, Smith S V, Sleezer R O, et al. 2004. Comment on managing soil carbon. Science, 305(5690): 1567.
doi: 10.1126/science.1100273 pmid: 15361608
[35]   Sadeghipour A, Kamali N, Kamali P, et al. 2015. The changes in monthly and seasonal values of carbon emission in different grazing intensities (Case study: Ghoosheh, Semnan). Journal of Range and Watershed Management, 67(3): 451-458. (in Persian)
[36]   Santra P, Mertia R S, Kumawat R N, et al. 2013. Loss of soil carbon and nitrogen through wind erosion in the Indian Thar Desert. Journal of Agricultural Physics, 13(1): 13-21.
[37]   Scherr S J. 1999. Soil Degradation: A Threat to Developing-country Food Security by 2020? Washington: International Food Policy Research Institute, 1-70.
[38]   Schlesinger W H. 1984. Soil organic matter a source of atmospheric CO2. In: Woodwell G M. The Role of Terrestrial Vegetation in the Global Carbon Cycle: Management by Remote Sensing. New York: John Wiley & Stons Ltd., 111-125.
[39]   Schwining S, Sala O E. 2004. Hierarchy of responses to resource pulses in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Oecologia, 141: 211-220.
doi: 10.1007/s00442-004-1520-8
[40]   Stotzky G. 1965. Microbial respiration. In: Black C A. Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 2: Agronomy. Wisconsin: American Society of Agronomy, 1550-1572.
[41]   Suman A, Singh K P, Singh P, et al. 2009. Carbon input, loss and storage in sub-tropical Indian inceptisol under multi-ratooning sugarcane. Soil and Tillage Research, 104(2): 221-226.
[42]   Tan Z X, Lal R. 2005. Carbon sequestration potential estimates with changes in land use and tillage practice in Ohio, USA. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 111(1-4): 140-152.
[43]   UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme). 1992. World Atlas of Desertification. Nairobi (Kenya): Edward Arnald Seven Oaks.
[44]   Ussiri D A N, Lal R. 2009. Long-term tillage effects on soil carbon storage and carbon dioxide emissions in continuous corn cropping system from an alfisol in Ohio. Soil and Tillage Research, 104(1): 39-47.
[45]   van Oost K, Govers G, Quine T A, et al. 2004. Comment on ''managing soil carbon''. Science, 305(5690): 1567.
[46]   van Oost K, Quine T A, Govers G, et al. 2007. The impact of agricultural soil erosion on the global carbon cycle. Science, 318(5850): 626-629.
doi: 10.1126/science.1145724 pmid: 17962559
[47]   Wang Z, Hoffmann T, Six J, et al. 2017. Human-induced erosion has offset one-third of carbon emissions from land cover change. Nature Climate Change, 7: 345-349.
[48]   Wohlfahrt G, Anderson-Dunn M, Bahn M, et al. 2008. Biotic, abiotic, and management controls on the net ecosystem CO2 exchange of European mountain grassland ecosystems. Ecosystems, 11: 1338-1351.
[49]   Zeeman M J, Hiller R, Gilgen A K, et al. 2010. Management and climate impacts on net CO2 fluxes and carbon budgets of three grasslands along an elevational gradient in Switzerland. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 150(9): 519-530.
[50]   Zhang J J, Peng C H, Zhu Q, et al. 2016. Temperature sensitivity of soil carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions in mountain forest and meadow ecosystems in China. Atmospheric Environment, 142: 340-350.
[51]   Zhao Z Z, Dong S K, Jiang X M, et al. 2017. Effects of warming and nitrogen deposition on CH4, CO2 and N2O emissions in alpine grassland ecosystems of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Science of the Total Environment, 592: 565-572.
doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.082 pmid: 28318700
[52]   Zhu X X, Luo C Y, Wang S P, et al. 2015. Effects of warming, grazing/cutting and nitrogen fertilization on greenhouse gas fluxes during growing seasons in an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 214-215: 506-514.
[1] Abdulrahim M AL-ISMAILI, Moustafa A FADEL, Hemantha JAYASURIYA, L H Janitha JEEWANTHA, Adel AL-MAHDOURI, Talal AL-SHUKEILI. Potential reduction in water consumption of greenhouse evaporative coolers in arid areas via earth-tube heat exchangers[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(4): 388-396.
[2] ZHANG Yongkun, HUANG Mingbin. Spatial variability and temporal stability of actual evapotranspiration on a hillslope of the Chinese Loess Plateau[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(2): 189-204.
[3] Pingping XUE, Xuelai ZHAO, Yubao GAO, Xingdong HE. Phenotypic plasticity of Artemisia ordosica seedlings in response to different levels of calcium carbonate in soil[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(1): 58-65.
[4] BOMBI Pierluigi. Potential impacts of climate change on Welwitschia mirabilis populations in the Namib Desert, southern Africa[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(5): 663-672.
[5] YANG Xuemei, LIU Shizeng, YANG Taibao, XU Xianying, KANG Caizhou, TANG Jinnian, WEI Huaidong, Mihretab G GHEBREZGABHER, LI Zhiqi. Spatial-temporal dynamics of desert vegetation and its responses to climatic variations over the last three decades: a case study of Hexi region in Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(4): 556-568.
[6] FeiLong HU, WenKai SHOU, Bo LIU, ZhiMin LIU, Carlos A BUSSO. Species composition and diversity, and carbon stock in a dune ecosystem in the Horqin Sandy Land of northern China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(1): 82-93.
[7] QingLing GENG, PuTe WU, QingFeng ZHANG, XiNing ZHAO, YuBao WANG. Dry/wet climate zoning and delimitation of arid areas of Northwest China based on a data-driven fashion[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(3): 287-299.
[8] WenJun HU, JieBin ZHANG, YongQiang LIU. The qanats of Xinjiang: historical development, characteristics and modern implications for environmental protection[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(2): 211-220.
[9] Yan ZHANG, ChangYou LI, XiaoHong SHI, Chao LI. The migration of total dissolved solids during natural freezing process in Ulansuhai Lake[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(1): 85-94.
[10] Xi CHEN, BaiLian LI, Qin LI, JunLi LI, Saparnov ABDULLA. Spatio-temporal pattern and changes of evapotranspiration in arid Central Asia and Xinjiang of China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(1): 105-112.
[11] JianGuo ZHANG, YingLi WANG, YunSong JI, DeZhi YAN. Melting and shrinkage of cryosphere in Tibet and its impact on the ecological environment[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2011, 3(4): 292-299.