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SOIL An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 1, issue 2
SOIL, 1, 631-639, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-1-631-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
SOIL, 1, 631-639, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-1-631-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Short communication 21 Sep 2015

Short communication | 21 Sep 2015

Passive soil heating using an inexpensive infrared mirror design – a proof of concept

C. Rasmussen1, R. E. Gallery2,3, and J. S. Fehmi2 C. Rasmussen et al.
  • 1Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 2School of Natural Resources and the Environment, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 3Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, The University of Arizona,Tucson, AZ, USA

Abstract. There is a need to understand the soil system response to warming in order to model the soil process response to predicted climate change. Current methods for soil warming include expensive and difficult to implement active and passive techniques. Here we test a simple, inexpensive in situ passive soil heating approach, based on easy to construct infrared mirrors that do not require automation or enclosures. The infrared mirrors consisted of 61 × 61 cm glass panels coated with infrared reflecting film. The mirrors as constructed are effective for soil heating in environments typified by an open vegetation canopy. Mirror tests were performed on three soils of varying texture, organic matter content, and heat capacity in a warm semi-arid environment. Results indicated that the infrared mirrors yielded significant heating and drying of soil surface and shallow subsurface relative to unwarmed control treatments, and that warming and drying effects were soil specific with greater potential warming on soils with lower volumetric heat capacity. Partial shading from the mirror frame did produce periods of relative cooling at specific times of the day but overall the mirrors yielded a net soil warming. The results demonstrate proof of concept that the infrared mirrors may be used to passively heat the near soil surface, providing an inexpensive, low-maintenance alternative to other passive and active soil heating technologies.

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There is a need to understand the response of soil systems to predicted climate warming for modeling soil processes. Current experimental methods for soil warming include expensive and difficult to implement active and passive techniques. Here we test a simple, inexpensive in situ passive soil heating approach, based on easy to construct infrared mirrors that do not require automation or enclosures. Results indicated that the infrared mirrors yielded significant heating and drying of soils.
There is a need to understand the response of soil systems to predicted climate warming for...
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