The Unified North American Soil Map and its implication on the soil organic carbon stock in North America


S. Liu, Y. Wei, W. M. Post, R. B. Cook, K. Schaefer, and M. M. Thornton. The Unified North American Soil Map and its implication on the soil organic carbon stock in North America. Biogeosciences, 10, 2915-2930, 2013. doi:10.5194/bg-10-2915-2013.

Abstract.

The Unified North American Soil Map (UNASM) was developed to provide more accurate regional soil information for terrestrial biosphere modeling. The UNASM combines information from state-of-the-art US STATSGO2 and Soil Landscape of Canada (SLCs) databases. The area not covered by these datasets is filled by using the Harmonized World Soil Database version 1.21 (HWSD1.21). The UNASM contains maximum soil depth derived from the data source as well as seven soil attributes (including sand, silt, and clay content, gravel content, organic carbon content, pH, and bulk density) for the topsoil layer (0–30 cm) and the subsoil layer (30–100 cm), respectively, of the spatial resolution of 0.25 degrees in latitude and longitude. There are pronounced differences in the spatial distributions of soil properties and soil organic carbon between UNASM and HWSD, but the UNASM overall provides more detailed and higher-quality information particularly in Alaska and central Canada. To provide more accurate and up-to-date estimate of soil organic carbon stock in North America, we incorporated Northern Circumpolar Soil Carbon Database (NCSCD) into the UNASM. The estimate of total soil organic carbon mass in the upper 100 cm soil profile based on the improved UNASM is 365.96 Pg, of which 23.1% is under trees, 14.1% is in shrubland, and 4.6% is in grassland and cropland. This UNASM data will provide a resource for use in terrestrial ecosystem modeling both for input of soil characteristics and for benchmarking model output.

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Biogeosciences (BG) is an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and discussion of research articles, short communications and review papers on all aspects of the interactions between the biological, chemical and physical processes in terrestrial or extraterrestrial life with the geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. The objective of the journal is to cut across the boundaries of established sciences and achieve an interdisciplinary view of these interactions. Experimental, conceptual and modelling approaches are welcome. More at Biogeosciences homepage.

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