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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 44 No. 5, p. 1052-1058
    Received: Jan 11, 1980
    Accepted: Apr 30, 1980

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Soil Temperature Regimes of the Central Appalachians1

  1. Brian J. Carter and
  2. Edward J. Ciolkosz2



Soil temperatures were measured for 3 years at depths of 25 and 50 cm at four sites in four areas on a north-south transect from northern Pennsylvania to northern West Virginia. Each site was at a different elevation. The mean annual soil temperature (MAST) was estimated using: (i) an average of four readings (taken in mid-January, April, July, and October; at all sites), (ii) an average of 12 readings (one taken each month; at each site in one area), and (iii) a mean annual air temperature (MAAT) at one site in each area. A prediction equation was derived from the seasonal readings at a 50-cm depth (Y = 11.7 — 0.0061X1 — 0.0034X2, where relative latitude = X2 in kilometers, elevation =X2 in meters and Y = MAST in degrees centigrade). Using the prediction equation the mesic-frigid soil temperature boundary was found to be 572 ± 125 m (1,875 ± 410 feet at Coudersport, Penn., 755 ± 78 m (2,475 ± 255 feet) at Philipsburg, Penn., 921 ± 35 m (3,020 ± 115 feet) at Kegg, Penn., and 1,088 ± 26 m (3,570 ± 85 feet) at Davis, W.V. The prediction equation indicates that the mesic-frigid soil temperature boundary rises rapidly in elevation from north to south and there are areas of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia that have frigid soil temperature regimes. The data also indicates that: (i) MAST can be estimated from seasonal readings at 25 cm as well as 50 cm, (ii) MAST at 50 cm can be estimated from monthly or seasonal readings, and (iii) MAAT averaged 1.2°C below MAST.

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