Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2018, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (1): 69-79.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2018.00069

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of freeze-thaw cycles on soil N2O concentration and flux in the permafrost regions of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

ShengYun Chen1, Qian Zhao1,6, WenJie Liu1,2, Zhao Zhang1, Shuo Li1, HongLin Li3, ZhongNan Nie4, LingXi Zhou5, ShiChang Kang1   

  1. 1. Qilian Shan Station of Glaciology and Ecologic Environment, State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China;
    2. Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Forestry, Hainan University, Haikou, Hainan 570228, China;
    3. State Key Laboratory of Plateau Ecology and Agriculture, Qinghai University, Xining, Qinghai 810016, China;
    4. Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Private Bag 105, Hamilton VIC 3300, Australia;
    5. Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China;
    6. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2017-10-30 Online:2018-02-01 Published:2018-11-23
  • Contact: ShengYun Chen,
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (41690142), the Key Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (KJZD-EW-G03-04), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41171054); and the National Science & Technology Pillar Program (2014BAC05B02).

Abstract: Nitrous oxide (N2O) is one of the most important greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; freeze-thaw cycles (FTCs) might strongly influence the emission of soil N2O on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). However, there is a lack of in situ research on the characteristics of soil N2O concentration and flux in response to variations in soil properties caused by FTCs. Here, we report the effect of FTC-induced changes in soil properties on the soil N2O concentration and flux in the permafrost region of the higher reaches of the Shule River Basin on the northeastern margin of the QTP. We measured chemical properties of the topsoil, activities of soil microorganisms, and air temperature (AT), as well as soil N2O concentration and flux, over an annual cycle from July 31, 2011, to July 30, 2012. The results showed that soil N2O concentration was significantly affected by soil temperature (ST), soil moisture (SM), soil salinity (SS), soil polyphenol oxidase (SPO), soil alkaline phosphatase (SAP), and soil culturable actinomycetes (SCA), ranked as SM> SS> ST> SPO> SAP> SCA, whereas ST significantly increased soil N2O flux, compared with SS. Overall, our study indicated that the soil N2O concentration and flux in permafrost zone FTCs were strongly affected by soil properties, especially soil moisture, soil salinity, and soil temperature.

Key words: freeze-thaw cycles, soil environment, N2O

Baumann F, He JS, Schmidt K, et al., 2009. Pedogenesis, permafrost, and soil moisture as controlling factors for soil nitrogen and carbon contents across the Tibetan Plateau. Global Change Biology, 15(12): 3001-3017, DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01953.x.
Burton DL, Beauchamp EG, 1994. Profile nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide concentrations in a soil subject to freezing. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 58(1): 115-122, DOI:10.2136/sssaj1994.03615995005800010016x.
Callesen I, Borken W, Kalbitz K, et al., 2007. Long-term development of nitrogen fluxes in a coniferous ecosystem: Does soil freezing trigger nitrate leaching?. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 170(2): 189-196, DOI:10.1002/jpln.200622034.
Chen SY, Liu WJ, Qin X, et al., 2012. Response characteristics of vegetation and soil environment to permafrost degradation in the upstream regions of the Shule River Basin. Environmental Research Letters, 7(4): 045406, DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/045406.
Chen SY, Liu WJ, Zhao Q, et al., 2016. Response of freeze-thaw processes to experimental warming in the permafrost regions of the central Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The Cryosphere Discussions. DOI: 10.5194/tc-2016-80. (in Press)
Christiansen HH, Etzelmüller B, Isaksen K, et al., 2010. The thermal state of permafrost in the nordic area during the international polar year 2007-2009. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 21(2): 156-181, DOI:10.1002/ppp.687.
Crutzen PJ, 1981. Atmospheric chemical processes of the oxides of nitrogen, including nitrous oxide. In: Delwiche CC (ed.). Denitrification, Nitrification and Atmospheric Nitrous Oxide. Chichester, UK: John Wiley and Sons, pp. 17-44.
Davidson EA, Swank WT, 1990. Nitrous oxide dissolved in soil solution: an insignificant pathway of nitrogen loss from a southeastern hardwood forest. Water Resources Research, 26(7): 1687-1690, DOI:10.1029/WR026i007p01687.
Ding LL, Long RJ, Qi B, et al., 2005. Soil microbial carbon and nitrogen contents of different kinds of alpine grassland in the Eastern Qilian mountains. Journal of Gansu Agricultural University, 40(5): 639-645, DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1003-4315.2005.05.014.
Du R, 2006. Effects of soil moisture and temperature on N2O production rate of meadow grassland soil. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 17(11): 2170-2174.
Du YG, Cui YG, Xu XL, et al., 2008. Nitrous oxide emissions from two alpine meadows in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Plant and Soil, 311(1-2): 245-254, DOI:10.1007/s11104-008-9727-9.
Du YG, Cui XY, Cao GM, et al., 2011. Simulating N2O emission from Kobresia humilis Serg. Alpine meadow on Tibetan Plateau with the DNDC model. Polish Journal of Ecology, 59(3): 443-453.
Flückiger J, Dällenbach A, Blunier T, et al., 1999. Variations in atmospheric N2O concentration during abrupt climatic changes. Science, 285(5425): 227-230, DOI:10.1126/science.285.5425.227.
Ge C, Shi ZN, Yan ZM, et al., 2004. Participant possibility of actinomycetes in soil denitrification. Acta Pedologica Sinica, 41(1): 108-112, DOI:10.3321/j.issn:0564-3929.2004.01.018.
Grogan P, Michelsen A, Ambus P, et al., 2004. Freeze-thaw regime effects on carbon and nitrogen dynamics in sub-arctic heath tundra mesocosms. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 36(4): 641-654, DOI:10.1016/j.soilbio.2003.12.007.
Guan SY, Zhang D, Zhang Z, 1986. Soil Enzyme and Its Research Methods. Beijing: Agricultural Press, pp. 274-297.
Guglielmin M, Dramis F, 1999. Permafrost as a climatic indicator in northern Victoria Land, Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 29: 131-135, DOI:10.3189/172756499781821111.
Holst J, Liu C, Yao Z, et al., 2008. Fluxes of nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide during freezing-thawing cycles in an Inner Mongolian steppe. Plant and Soil, 308(1-2): 105-117, DOI:10.1007/s11104-008-9610-8.
IPCC, 2013. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1535.
Isaksen K, Sollid JL, Holmlund P, et al., 2007. Recent warming of mountain permafrost in Svalbard and Scandinavia. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 112(F2): F02S04, DOI:10.1029/2006JF000522.
ISSCAS (Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences), 1978. Physical and Chemical Analysis Methods of Soils. Shanghai: Shanghai Scientific & Technical Publishers, pp. 7-59.
Koponen HT, Martikainen PJ, 2004. Soil water content and freezing temperature affect freeze-thaw related N2O production in organic soil. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 69(3): 213-219, DOI:10.1023/B:FRES.0000035172.37839.24.
Koponen HT, Jaakkola T, Keinänen-Toivola MM, et al., 2006. Microbial communities, biomass, and activities in soils as affected by freeze thaw cycles. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 38(7): 1861-1871, DOI:10.1016/j.soilbio.2005.12.010.
Kurganova IN, Lopes De Gerenyu VO, 2010. Effect of the temperature and moisture on the N2O emission from some arable soils. Eurasian Soil Science, 43(8): 919-928, DOI:10.1134/S1064229310080090.
Larsen KS, Jonasson S, Michelsen A, 2002. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles and their effects on biological processes in two arctic ecosystem types. Applied Soil Ecology, 21(3): 187-195, DOI:10.1016/S0929-1393(02)00093-8.
Li CS, Frolking S, Frolking TA, 1992. A model of nitrous oxide evolution from soil driven by rainfall events: 1. Model structure and sensitivity. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 97(D9): 9759-9776, DOI:10.1029/92JD00509.
Li CS, Mosier A, Wassmann R, et al., 2004. Modeling greenhouse gas emissions from rice-based production systems: sensitivity and upscaling. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 18(1): GB1043, DOI:10.1029/2003GB002045.
Li XX, Bai HY, Ding Q, et al., 2007. Soil physical and chemical properties, phosphatase activity, and N2O emission in winter wheat field on Loess Plateau. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 26(8): 1187-1192, DOI:10.13292/j.1000-4890.2007.0225.
Lipson DA, Schmidt SK, Monson RK, 1999. Links between microbial population dynamics and nitrogen availability in an alpine ecosystem. Ecology, 80(5): 1623-1631, DOI:10.1890/0012-9658(1999)080[1623:LBMPDA]2.0.CO;2.
Lipson DA, Schmidt SK, 2004. Seasonal changes in an alpine soil bacterial community in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70(5): 2867-2879, DOI:10.1128/AEM.70.5.2867-2879.2004.
Liu GS, Wang GX, Bai W, et al., 2012c. Response of heat condition within active layer in swamp meadow on the Tibetan Plateau to Warming. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology, 34(3): 555-562.
Liu WJ, Chen SY, Qin X, et al., 2012a. Storage, patterns, and control of soil organic carbon and nitrogen in the northeastern margin of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Environmental Research Letters, 7(3): 035401, DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/7/3/035401.
Liu WJ, Chen SY, Zhao Q, et al., 2012b. Main greenhouse gases emissions during plant growing season in permafrost region of the upper reaches of Shule River, Qilianshan. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology, 34(5): 1149-1156.
Nan ZT, Li SX, Cheng GD, 2005. Prediction of permafrost distribution on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the next 50 and 100 years. Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences, 48(6): 797-804, DOI:10.1360/03yd0258.
Nelson DW, Sommers LE, 1982. Total carbon, organic carbon, and organic matter. In: Page AL, Miller RH, Keeney DR (eds.). Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2. Chemical and Microbiological Properties. Agronomy Monograph 9. 2nd ed. Madison, WI, USA: Agronomy Society of America and Soil Science Society of America, pp. 539-579.
Neill M, 2005. A method to determine which nutrient is limiting for plant growth in estuarine waters—at any salinity. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 50(9): 945-955, DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2005.04.002.
Osterkamp TE, 2005. The recent warming of permafrost in Alaska. Global and Planetary Change, 49(3-4): 187-202, DOI:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2005.09.001.
Overduin PP, Kane DL, 2006. Frost boils and soil ice content: field observations. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 17(4): 291-307, DOI:10.1002/ppp.567.
Qiu J, 2008. China: the third pole. Nature, 454(7203): 393-396, DOI:10.1038/454393a.
Qu R, Li JS, Xiao NW, et al., 2010. Study on the influence of soil microbial on soil respiration at various vegetations. Acta Agriculturae Boreali-Sinica, 25(3): 196-199, DOI:10.7668/hbnxb.2010.03.041.
Romanovsky VE, Drozdov DS, Oberman NG, et al., 2010. Thermal state of permafrost in Russia. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 21(2): 136-155, DOI:10.1002/ppp.683.
Schimel JP, Clein JS, 1996. Microbial response to freeze-thaw cycles in tundra and taiga soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 28(8): 1061-1066, DOI:10.1016/0038-0717(96)00083-1.
Shi Y, Huang GH, 1999. Relationship between soil denitrifying enzyme activities and N2O emission. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 10(3): 329-331, DOI:10.13287/j.1001-9332.1999.0084.
Sjursen H, Michelsen A, Holmstrup M, 2005. Effects of freeze-thaw cycles on microarthropods and nutrient availability in a sub-Arctic soil. Applied Soil Ecology, 28(1): 79-93, DOI:10.1016/j.apsoil.2004.06.003.
Smith SL, Burgess MM, Riseborough D, et al., 2005. Recent trends from Canadian permafrost thermal monitoring network sites. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 16(1): 19-30, DOI:10.1002/ppp.511.
Teepe R, Brumme R, Beese F, 2001. Nitrous oxide emissions from soil during freezing and thawing periods. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 33(9): 1269-1275, DOI:10.1016/S0038-0717(01)00084-0.
Wang WZ, Wu YR, Jin R, et al., 2009. Analysis of the variation characteristics of soil moisture and soil salinity—Take Arou Pasture in the Upper Reaches of Heihe River for an example. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology, 31(2): 268-274.
Wang YF, Ma XZ, Ji BM, et al., 2003. Diurnal and seasonal variation in methane and nitrous oxide fluxes in meadow steppe of Inner Mongolia. Acta Phytoecologica Sinica, 27(6): 792-796, DOI:10.17521/cjpe.2003.0113.
Wang YS, Xue M, Zheng XH, et al., 2005. Effects of environmental factors on N2O emission from and CH4 uptake by the typical grasslands in the Inner Mongolia. Chemosphere, 58(2): 205-215, DOI:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2004.04.043.
Wei LH, 2004. The effect of alternative freezing and thawing on soil organic matter and nitrogen potassium nutrition of black soil. Changchun: Jilin Agricultural University.
Wrage N, Lauf J, Del Prado A, et al., 2004. Distinguishing sources of N2O in European grasslands by stable isotope analysis. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 18(11): 1201-1207, DOI:10.1002/rcm.1461.
Wu QB, Zhang TJ, Liu Y, 2012. Thermal state of the active layer and permafrost along the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Railway from 2006 to 2010. The Cryosphere, 6(3): 607-612, DOI:10.5194/tc-6-607-2012.
Wu QB, Zhang TJ, 2010. Changes in active layer thickness over the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau from 1995 to 2007. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 115(D9): D09107, DOI:10.1029/2009JD012974.
Wu X, Shen ZY, 2010. Effects of freezing-thawing cycle on greenhouse gases production and emission from soil: a review. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 29(7): 1432-1439, DOI:10.13292/j.1000-4890.2010.0213.
Ri X, Prentice IC, 2008. Terrestrial nitrogen cycle simulation with a dynamic global vegetation model. Global Change Biology, 14(8): 1745-1764, DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01625.x.
Yang HL, Qin JH, Sun H, 2010. A review: response of soil CO2 and N2O emissions to freeze-thaw pattern change. Soil, 42(4): 519-525, DOI:10.13758/
Yang MX, Yao TD, Gou XH, et al., 2003. The soil moisture distribution, thawing-freezing processes and their effects on the seasonal transition on the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) plateau. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 21(5): 457-465, DOI:10.1016/S1367-9120(02)00069-X.
Yang MX, Yao TD, Gou XH, et al., 2007. Diurnal freeze/thaw cycles of the ground surface on the Tibetan Plateau. Chinese Science Bulletin, 52(1): 136-139, DOI:10.1007/s11434-007-0004-8.
Zhao L, Cheng GD, Li SX, et al., 2000. Thawing and freezing processes of active layer in Wudaoliang region of Tibetan Plateau. Chinese Science Bulletin, 45(23): 2181-2187, DOI:10.1007/BF02886326.
Zhou YW, Guo DX, Qiu GQ, et al., 2000. Geocryology in China. Beijing: Science Press.
[1] Tuncer B. Edil, Bora Cetin, Ali Soleimanbeigi. Laboratory and field performance of recycled aggregate base in a seasonally cold region [J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2017, 9(3): 183-191.
[2] ShengBo Xie, JianJun Qu, Tao Wang. Wind tunnel simulation of the effects of freeze-thaw cycles on soil erosion in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau [J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2016, 8(3): 187-195.
[3] QianMi Yu, JianKun Liu, JingYu Liu, DingJun Lv, TengFei Wang. Experimental study of the effects of non-uniformly distributed fine soil on mechanical properties of Shenyang-Dandong Railway coarse-grained soil [J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2015, 7(5): 503-512.
[4] ZhenYa Liu, JingYu Liu, QingZhi Wang, JianKun Liu. Compressive strength and frost heave resistance of different types of semi-rigid base materials after freeze-thaw cycles [J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2015, 7(4): 365-369.
[5] ChengYi Yu, Shuang Tian, Liang Tang, XianZhang Ling, GuoQing Zhou. Finite element analysis on deformation of highembankment in heavy-haul railway subjected to freeze-thaw cycles [J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2015, 7(4): 421-429.
[6] Ze Zhang, Vadim V. Pendin, WenJie Feng, ZhongQiong Zhang. The influence of freeze-thaw cycles on the granulometric composition of Moscow morainic clay [J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2015, 7(3): 199-205.
Full text



[1] Mohan Bahadur Chand,Rijan Bhakta Kayastha. Study of thermal properties of supraglacial debris and degree-day factors on Lirung Glacier, Nepal[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 357 -368 .
[2] AiHong Xie, ShiMeng Wang, YiCheng Wang, ChuanJin Li. Comparison of temperature extremes between Zhongshan Station and Great Wall Station in Antarctica[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 369 -378 .
[3] YanZai Wang, YongQiu Wu, MeiHui Pan, RuiJie Lu. Comparison of two classification methods to identify grain size fractions of aeolian sediment[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 413 -420 .
[4] YinHuan Ao, ShiHua Lyu, ZhaoGuo Li, LiJuan Wen, Lin Zhao. Numerical simulation of the climate effect of high-altitude lakes on the Tibetan Plateau[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 379 -391 .
[5] Zhuo Ga, Za Dui, Duodian Luozhu, Jun Du. Comparison of precipitation products to observations in Tibet during the rainy season[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 392 -403 .
[6] Rong Yang, JunQia Kong, ZeYu Du, YongZhong Su. Altitude pattern of carbon stocks in desert grasslands of an arid land region[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 404 -412 .
[7] Yang Qiu, ZhongKui Xie, XinPing Wang, YaJun Wang, YuBao Zhang, YuHui He, WenMei Li, WenCong Lv. Effect of slow-release iron fertilizer on iron-deficiency chlorosis, yield and quality of Lilium davidii var. unicolor in a two-year field experiment[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 421 -427 .
[8] Ololade A. Oyedapo,Joseph M. Agbedahunsi,H. C Illoh,Akinwumi J. Akinloye. Comparative foliar anatomy of three Khaya species (Meliaceae) used in Nigeria as antisickling agent[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(4): 279 -285 .
[9] YuMing Wei, XiaoFei Ma, PengShan Zhao. Transcriptomic comparison to identify rapidly evolving genes in Braya humilis[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 428 -435 .
[10] FangLei Zhong, AiJun Guo, XiaoJuan Yin, JinFeng Cui, Xiao Yang, YanQiong Zhang. Sociodemographic characteristics, cultural biases, and environmental attitudes: An empirical application of grid-group cultural theory in Northwestern China[J]. Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 2018, 10(5): 436 -446 .