The High Intensity Terrestrial Network portal provides data, including soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools and fluxes at multiple sites across the state of New Hampshire, to help link soil processes to water chemistry parameters.
The NH High Intensity Terrestrial Network project is fully funded by NSF EPSCoR and is one of the core research areas of the NH EPSCoR Ecosystems and Society project. This network is aimed at linking soil processes to water chemistry parameters by co-locating terrestrial and aquatic sensor sites. Data will be used to examine how soil properties and processes change spatially and temporally as climate in the region changes. Data will also provide input to ecosystem models used to predict how ecosystems in the region will respond to climate and land-use change. As an outreach and teaching resource, we will stream live data to the web.
To determine how soil processes are affected by climate change and land management we are monitoring soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools and fluxes at multiple sites across the state of New Hampshire using in-situ sensors. In-situ sensors advance current data collection strategies from snapshots (e.g., weekly or monthly data collection) to high-resolution continuous streams of data that can be collected as frequently as desired. This can show temporal variations in the data which can greatly increase our ability to interpret the data based on weather events. In-situ sensors can save time and money while allowing for sampling in winter safely under the snowpack. Pools or stocks of C are determined by analyzing soils for total C & N, bulk density, and soil moisture. Fluxes of CO2 are quantified continuously using automated chambers, soil profile sensors, and snow towers (for winter measurement through snow pack). A substantial portion of total annual CO2 flux can occur in winter (Contosta et al. 2012) however these times are the hardest to sample soil CO2 flux and can be left out of most annual soil respiration sampling. Using in-ground soil CO2 probes, we can quantify the flux under the snowpack.
Soils are vital for maintaining ecosystem quality and sustaining the function of ecosystem services. They are the largest reservoir of organic carbon in the terrestrial biosphere and an important source of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere through soil microbial respiration (Frey et al. 2012). Temperature and moisture can be affected by climate and land use change which in turn affects soil microbial activity and ecosystem carbon budgets. Soils provide a building block for terrestrial ecosystems and a buffer for aquatic systems. Changing climate and land use in terrestrial ecosystems can affect water balances and nutrient dynamics through changes in temperature and precipitation inputs. This can have implications for stream discharge of water and nutrients and impacts ecosystems downstream.