Wet Soils Elevate Nighttime Temperatures
Soil moisture can elevate overnight temperatures, offsetting daytime cooling, especially over areas of strong land-atmosphere interactions.
Using a conceptual model of the surface energy budget, Cheruy et al.  demonstrate a noteworthy negative nocturnal feedback between soil moisture and temperature that is particularly strong in so-called “hot-spot” regions of land-atmosphere coupling. The negative feedback operates through the effect of water on the thermal inertia of the soil: dry soils can fluctuate in temperature much more readily than wet soils. Monsoon regions and transition zones between arid and humid climates have large day-to-day variability of the thermal inertia, which mainly affects variability of nighttime minimum temperatures. Here, positive soil-moisture anomalies induce cooler daytime temperatures through increased evaporative cooling, a well-known phenomenon. However, at night the higher heat capacity and thermal inertia of the wetter soil strongly prevents nocturnal cooling. The opposite situation arises for anomalously dry soils: increased daytime maximum temperatures but lower nighttime minimum temperatures....more
-- Paul A. Dirmeyer, Editor, JAMES,
- Article Category
- Research Articles
Role of Soil Thermal Inertia in Surface Temperature and Soil Moisture‐Temperature Feedback
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