U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Improved Approach to Calculating Soil Respiration
Published: November 24, 2008
Posted: January 27, 2009

Soil respiration is increasingly  recognized as a critical factor in the global carbon cycle.  The temperature sensitivity of soil respiration is one of the most important processes in the terrestrial carbon cycling and carbon-climate interactions. To date, it has been difficult to estimate sensitivity parameters from measurements, leading to uncertainties in coupled carbon-climate simulations.  In the November 14 edition of the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, scientists from ORNL report a new approach called the "localized ratio fitting" (LRF) which is shown to isolate and remove confounding effects and thus accurately estimate the "true" temperature sensitivity of soil respiration.  This improved calculation method suggests that a long-held assumption of seasonal variation in temperature sensitivity may be an artifact of earlier calculation methods. 

Reference:  Gu L, Hanson PJ, Post WM, Liu Q (2008) A novel approach for identifying the true temperature sensitivity from soil respiration measurements. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 22, GB4009, doi:10.1029/2007GB003164 

Contact: Mike Kuperberg, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3281
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)