Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (2): 232-240    DOI:
Research Articles     
An analytical model for estimating soil temperature profiles on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China
HU Guojie, ZHAO Lin*, WU Xiaodong, LI Ren, WU Tonghua, XIE Changwei,QIAO Yongping, SHI Jianzong, CHENG Guodong
Cryosphere Research Station on Qinghai-Xizang Plateau/State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China 
Download:   PDF(293KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      

Abstract  Soil temperature is a key variable in the control of underground hydro-thermal processes. To estimate soil temperature more accurately, this study proposed a solution method of the heat conduction equation of soil temperature (improved heat conduction model) by applying boundary conditions that incorporate the annual and diurnal variations of soil surface temperature and the temporal variation of daily temperature amplitude, as well as the temperature difference between two soil layers in the Tanggula observation site of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China. We employed both the improved heat conduction model and the classical heat conduction model to fit soil temperature by using the 5 cm soil layer as the upper boundary for soil depth. The results indicated that the daily soil temperature amplitude can be better described by the sinusoidal function in the improved model, which then yielded more accurate soil temperature simulating effect at the depth of 5 cm. The simulated soil temperature values generated by the improved model and classical heat conduction model were then compared to the observed soil temperature values at different soil depths. Statistical analyses of the root mean square error (RMSE), the normalized standard error (NSEE) and the bias demonstrated that the improved model showed higher accuracy, and the average values of RMSE, bias and NSEE at the soil depth of 10–105 cm were 1.41°C, 1.15°C and 22.40%, respectively. These results indicated that the improved heat conduction model can better estimate soil temperature profiles compared to the traditional model.

Key wordscotton      eddy covariance      net ecosystem exchange (NEE)      carbon budget      water use efficiency (WUE)     
Received: 29 May 2015      Published: 01 April 2016

his work was financially supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CBA01803), the key project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KJZD-EW-G03-02), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41271081, 41271086), the One Hundred Talent Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (51Y551831) and the Natural Science Foundation of Gansu Province (1308RJZA309).

Corresponding Authors: ZHAO Lin     E-mail:
Cite this article:

HU Guojie, ZHAO Lin, WU Xiaodong, LI Ren, WU Tonghua, XIE Changwei,QIAO Yongping, SHI Jianzong, CHENG Guodong. An analytical model for estimating soil temperature profiles on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(2): 232-240.

URL:     OR

Bond-Lamberty B, Thomson A. 2010. Temperature-associated increases in the global soil respiration record. Nature, 464(7288): 579–582.

Canadell J G, Le Quéré C, Raupach M R, et al. 2007. Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(47): 18866–18870.

Carson J E. 1963. Analysis of soil and air temperatures by Fourier techniques. Journal of Geophysical Research, 68(8): 2217–2232.

Costello T A, Horst W J. 1991. Soil temperature sensor installation: a comparison of two methods. Transactions of the ASAE, 34(3): 904–908.

Elias E A, Cichota R, Torriani H H, et al. 2004. Analytical soil-temperature model: correction for temporal variation of daily amplitude. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 68(3): 784–788.

Gao Z Q, Fan X G, Bian L G. 2003. An analytical solution to one-dimensional thermal conduction-convection in soil. Soil Science, 168(2): 99–107.

Gao Z Q. 2005. Determination of soil heat flux in a Tibetan short-grass prairie. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 114(1): 165–178.

Gao Z Q, Lenschow D H, Horton R, et al. 2008. Comparison of two soil temperature algorithms for a bare ground site on the Loess Plateau in China. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 113(D18): D18105, doi: 10.1029/2008JD010285.

Guaraglia D O, Pousa J L, Pilan L. 2001. Predicting temperature and heat flow in a sandy soil by electrical modeling. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 65(4): 1074–1080.

Hillel D. 1982. Introduction to Soil Physics. New York: Academic Press.

Holmes T R H, Owe M, De Jeu R A M, et al. 2008. Estimating the soil temperature profile from a single depth observation: A simple empirical heatflow solution. Water Resources Research, 44(2): W02412, doi: 10.1029/2007WR005994.

Hopmans J W, Šimunek J, Bristow K L. 2002. Indirect estimation of soil thermal properties and water flux using heat pulse probe measurements: Geometry and dispersion effects. Water Resources Research, 38(1), doi: 10.1029/2000WR000071.

Horton R, Wierenga P J. 1983. Estimating the soil heat flux from observations of soil temperature near the surface. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 47(1): 14–20.

Huang F, Zhan W F, Ju W M, et al. 2014. Improved reconstruction of soil thermal field using two-depth measurements of soil temperature. Journal of Hydrology, 519(Part A): 711–719.

Jencso K G, McGlynn B L, Gooseff M N, et al. 2009. Hydrologic connectivity between landscapes and streams: Transferring reach- and plot-scale understanding to the catchment scale. Water Resources Research, 45(4): W04428, doi: 10.1029/2008WR007225.

Kirschbaum M U F. 2006. The temperature dependence of organic-matter decomposition-still a topic of debate. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 38(9): 2510–2518.

Kusuda T. 1975. The effect of ground cover on earth temperature. In: Proceedings of Conference on Alternatives in Energy Conservation: The Use of Earth-covered Buildings. Texas: Forth Worth, 9–12.

Li R, Zhao L, Wu T H, et al. 2014. Investigating soil thermodynamic parameters of the active layer on the northern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Environmental Earth Sciences, 71(2): 709–722.

Liu H Z, Tu G, Dong W J, et al. 2006. Seasonal and diurnal variations of the exchange of water vapor and CO2 between the land surface and atmosphere in the semi-arid area. Chinese Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, 30(1): 108–118. (in Chinese)

Mihalakakou G. 2002. On estimating soil surface temperature profiles. Energy and Buildings, 34(3): 251–259.

Niu G Y, Sun S F, Hong Z X. 1997. Numerical simulation on water and heat transport in the desert soil and atmospheric boundary layer. Acta Meteorologica Sinica, 55(4): 398–407. (in Chinese)

Núñez C M, Varas E A, Meza F J. 1983. Modelling soil heat flux. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 100(3): 251–260.

Paul K I, Polglase P J, Smethurst P J, et al. 2004. Soil temperature under forests: a simple model for predicting soil temperature under a range of forest types. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 121(3–4): 167–182.

Qian B D, Gregorich E G, Gameda S, et al. 2011. Observed soil temperature trends associated with climate change in Canada. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 116(D2): D02106, doi: 10.1029/2010JD015012.

Riveros-Iregui D A, McGlynn B L, Marshall L A, et al. 2011. A watershed-scale assessment of a process soil CO2 production and efflux model. Water Resources Research, 47(10): W00J04, doi: 10.1029/2010WR009941.

Thornton P E, Law B E, Gholz H L, et al. 2002. Modeling and measuring the effects of disturbance history and climate on carbon and water budgets in evergreen needleleaf forests. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 113(1–4): 185–222.

Toosi E R, Schmidt J P, Castellano M J. 2014. Soil temperature is an important regulatory control on dissolved organic carbon supply and uptake of soil solution nitrate. European Journal of Soil Biology, 61: 68–71.

van Wijk W R. 1963. Periodic temperature variations in a homogeneous soil. In: van Wijk W R. Physics of Plant Environment. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing.

Wang L L, Gao Z Q, Horton R, et al. 2012. An analytical solution to the one-dimensional heat conduction-convection equation in soil. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 76(6): 1978–1986.

Xiao Y, Zhao L, Dai Y J, et al. 2013. Representing permafrost properties in CoLM for the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) Plateau. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 87: 68–77.

Yang K, Bai D, Hao X Q, et al. 2009. Identification of soil hydraulic properties based on genetic algorithm. Transactions of the CSAE, 25(9): 32–35. (in Chinese)

Zhang T, Barry R G, Gilichinsky D, et al. 2001. An amplified signal of climatic change in soil temperatures during the last century at Irkutsk, Russia. Climatic Change, 49(1–2): 41–76.
[1] LIN En, LIU Hongguang, LI Xinxin, LI Ling, Sumera ANWAR. Promoting the production of salinized cotton field by optimizing water and nitrogen use efficiency under drip irrigation[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(7): 699-716.
[2] MA Jihong, TIAN Changyan, LYU Guanghui, MAI Wenxuan. Does cotton bollworm show cross-resistance to the Bacillus thuringiensis toxins Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab? A mini review[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(2): 349-356.
[3] Jie SUN, Wenfeng HU, Nai'ang WANG, Liqiang ZHAO, Ran AN, Kai NING, Xunhe ZHANG. Eddy covariance measurements of water vapor and energy flux over a lake in the Badain Jaran Desert, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(4): 517-533.
[4] A BOZOROV Tohir, M USMANOV Rustam, Honglan YANG, A HAMDULLAEV Shukhrat, MUSAYEV Sardorbek, SHAVKIEV Jaloliddin, NABIEV Saidgani, Daoyuan ZHANG, A ABDULLAEV Alisher. Effect of water deficiency on relationships between metabolism, physiology, biomass, and yield of upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(3): 441-456.
[5] Xin PAN, Yuanbo LIU, Xingwang FAN, Guojing GAN. Two energy balance closure approaches: applications and comparisons over an oasis-desert ecotone[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(1): 51-64.
[6] HU Wenfeng, WANG Nai’ang, ZHAO Liqiang, NING Kai, ZHANG Xunhe, SUN Jie. Surface energy and water vapor fluxes observed on a megadune in the Badain Jaran Desert, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(5): 579-589.
[7] QianQian GOU, JianJun QU, ZhiWen HAN. Microclimate and CO2 fluxes on continuous fine days in the Xihu desert wetland, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(3): 318-327.
[8] Jie BAI, Jin WANG, Xi CHEN, GePing LUO, Hao SHI, LongHui LI, JunLi LI. Seasonal and inter-annual variations in carbon fluxes and evapotranspiration over cotton field under drip irrigation with plastic mulch in an arid region of Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(2): 272-284.
[9] QianBing ZHANG, Ling YANG, ZhenZhu XU, YaLi ZHANG, HongHai LUO, Jin WANG, WangFeng ZHANG. Effects of cotton field management practices on soil CO2 emission and C balance in an arid region of Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(4): 468-477.
[10] Wei MIN, ZhenAn HOU, LiJuan MA, Wen ZHANG, SiBo RU, Jun YE. Effects of water salinity and N application rate on water- and N-use efficiency of cotton under drip irrigation[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(4): 454-467.
[11] WenXuan MAI, ChangYan TIAN, Li LI. Localized salt accumulation: the main reason for cotton root length decrease during advanced growth stages under drip irrigation with mulch film in a saline soil[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(3): 361-370.
[12] Sulitan DANIERHAN, Abudu SHALAMU, Hudan TUMAERBAI, DongHai GUAN. Effects of emitter discharge rates on soil salinity distribution and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) yield under drip irrigation with plastic mulch in an arid region of Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(1): 51-59.
[13] QiuXiang YI, AnMing BAO, Yi LUO, Jin ZHAO. Measuring cotton water status using water-related vegetation indices at leaf and canopy levels[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(3): 310-319.
[14] ChengYi ZHAO, YingYu YAN, Yilihamu Yimamu, JuYan LI, ZhiMin ZHAO, LaoSheng WU. Effects of soil moisture on cotton root length density and yield under drip irrigation with plastic mulch in Aksu Oasis farmland[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2010, 2(4): 243-249.