Modeling the effect of salt-affected soil on water balance fluxes and nitrous oxide emission using modified DNDC

Citation

Hussain Shah, S.H., Wang, J., Hao, X., Thomas, B.W. (2021). Modeling the effect of salt-affected soil on water balance fluxes and nitrous oxide emission using modified DNDC, 280 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111678

Plain language summary

Using field data collected in Alberta, a new and improved model was developed. This model provides a unique tool in investigating the effect of not only the soil moisture, but also the soil type and salt levels on N2O fluxes from soil.

Abstract

© 2020 Elsevier LtdSoil salinity restricts plant growth, affects soil water balance and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes and can contaminate surface and groundwater. In this study, the Denitrification Decomposition (DNDC) model was modified to couple salt and water balance equations (SALT-DNDC) to investigate the effect of salinity on water balance and N2O fluxes. The model was examined against four growing seasons (2008–11) of observed data from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Then, the model was used to simulate water filled pore space (WFPS), salt concentration and the N2O flux from agricultural soils. The results show that the effects of salinity on WFPS vary in different soil layers. Within shallow soil layers (<20 cm from soil surface) the salt concentration does not affect the average WFPS when initial salt concentrations range from 5 to 20 dS/m. However, in deeper soil layers (>20 cm from soil surface), when the initial salt concentration ranges from 5 to 20 dS/m it could indirectly affect the average WFPS due to changes of osmotic potential and transpiration. When AW is greater than 40%, the average growing season N2O emissions increase to a range of 0.6–1.0 g-N/ha/d at initial salt concentrations (5–20 dS/m) from a range of 0.5–0.7 g-N/ha/d when the salt concentrations is 0 dS/m. The newly developed SALT-DNDC model provides a unique tool to help investigate interactive effects among salt, soil, water, vegetation, and weather conditions on N2O fluxes.