How Soil Freezes and Thaws at a Snow-Dominated Forest Site in the U.S.—A Synthetic Approach Using the Soil and Cold Regions Model (SCRM)

Francisco Balocchi, Ty P.A. Ferré, Thomas Meixner, José Luis Arumí

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The freeze–thaw process controls several hydrologic processes, including infiltration, runoff, and soil erosion. Simulating this process is important, particularly in cold and mountainous regions. The Soil and Cold Regions Model (SCRM) was used to simulate, study, and understand the behavior of twelve homogenous soils subject to a freeze–thaw process, based on meteorological data at a snow-dominated forest site in Laramie, WY, USA, from 2010 and 2012. The relationships of soil pore size, soil particle contact, and meteorological data were varied. Our analysis of the model compared simulations using metrics such as soil frost depth, days with ice, and maximum ice content. The model showed that the freeze–thaw process was strongest in the period with a shallow snowpack, with particle packing within the soil profile being an important factor in this process; that soil texture and water content control soil thermal properties; and that water movement towards the freezing front was especially important in fine-textured soils, where water and ice were concentrated in the upper layers. Based on these results, future research that combines a broader set of soil conditions with an extended set of field meteorology and real soil data could elucidate the influence of soil texture on the thermal properties related to soil frost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number52
JournalSoil Systems
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • high mountain
  • physical model
  • soil frost
  • van Genuchten

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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