Since the birth of soil science, climate has been recognized as a soil-forming factor, along with parent rock, time, topography, and organisms (from which humans were later kept distinct), often prevalent on the other factors on the very long term. But the climate is in turns affected by soils and their management. This paper describes the interrelationships between climate – and its current change – and soil, focusing on each single factor of its formation. Parent material governs, primarily through the particle size distribution, the capacity of soil to retain water and organic matter, which are two main soil-related drivers of the climate. Time is the only unmanageable soil-forming factor; however, extreme climatic phenomena can upset the soil or even dismantle it, so as to slow down the pathway of pedogenesis or even make it start from scratch. Topography, which drives the pedogenesis mostly controlling rainfall distribution – with repercussions also on the climate – is not anymore a given factor because humans have often become a shaper of it. Indeed humans now play a key role in affecting in a plethora of ways those soil properties that most deal with climate. The abundance and diversity of the other organisms are generally positive to soil quality and as a buffer for climate, but there are troubling evidences that climate change is decreasing soil biodiversity. The corpus of researches on mutual feedback between climate and soil has essentially demonstrated that the best soil management in terms of climate change mitigation must aim at promoting vegetation growth and maximizing soil organic matter content and water retention. Some ongoing virtuous initiatives (e.g., the Great Green Wall of Africa) and farming systems (e.g., the conservation agriculture) should be extended as much as possible worldwide to enable the soil to make the greatest contribution to climate change mitigation. Graphical abstract Infographic displaying a variegated landscape with in evidence the soil-forming factors, all somewhat involved in the current unprecedented human-induced climate change. Emphasised are also four major fluxes towards the atmosphere that feed this dangerous phenomenon: the greenhouse gases emitted in incessantly increasing quantities by human activities, the solar radiation reflected from the earth's surfaces due to albedo, evapotranspiration, which is the water that passes to the state of vapor directly from surfaces or through living organisms, and the soot-rich smoke produced by wildfires and other types of combustion. Soil is a primary controller of all these fluxes and other processes dealing with climate.

Certini, G., Scalenghe, R. (2023). The crucial interactions between climate and soil [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.159169].

The crucial interactions between climate and soil

Scalenghe, Riccardo
2023-01-01

Abstract

Since the birth of soil science, climate has been recognized as a soil-forming factor, along with parent rock, time, topography, and organisms (from which humans were later kept distinct), often prevalent on the other factors on the very long term. But the climate is in turns affected by soils and their management. This paper describes the interrelationships between climate – and its current change – and soil, focusing on each single factor of its formation. Parent material governs, primarily through the particle size distribution, the capacity of soil to retain water and organic matter, which are two main soil-related drivers of the climate. Time is the only unmanageable soil-forming factor; however, extreme climatic phenomena can upset the soil or even dismantle it, so as to slow down the pathway of pedogenesis or even make it start from scratch. Topography, which drives the pedogenesis mostly controlling rainfall distribution – with repercussions also on the climate – is not anymore a given factor because humans have often become a shaper of it. Indeed humans now play a key role in affecting in a plethora of ways those soil properties that most deal with climate. The abundance and diversity of the other organisms are generally positive to soil quality and as a buffer for climate, but there are troubling evidences that climate change is decreasing soil biodiversity. The corpus of researches on mutual feedback between climate and soil has essentially demonstrated that the best soil management in terms of climate change mitigation must aim at promoting vegetation growth and maximizing soil organic matter content and water retention. Some ongoing virtuous initiatives (e.g., the Great Green Wall of Africa) and farming systems (e.g., the conservation agriculture) should be extended as much as possible worldwide to enable the soil to make the greatest contribution to climate change mitigation. Graphical abstract Infographic displaying a variegated landscape with in evidence the soil-forming factors, all somewhat involved in the current unprecedented human-induced climate change. Emphasised are also four major fluxes towards the atmosphere that feed this dangerous phenomenon: the greenhouse gases emitted in incessantly increasing quantities by human activities, the solar radiation reflected from the earth's surfaces due to albedo, evapotranspiration, which is the water that passes to the state of vapor directly from surfaces or through living organisms, and the soot-rich smoke produced by wildfires and other types of combustion. Soil is a primary controller of all these fluxes and other processes dealing with climate.
2023
Settore AGR/14 - Pedologia
Certini, G., Scalenghe, R. (2023). The crucial interactions between climate and soil [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.159169].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/570248
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