Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/1676
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Type: Journal article
Title: Influence of size of rainfall events on water-driven processes II. soil nitrogen mineralisation in a semi-arid environment
Author: Sadras, V.
Baldock, J.
Citation: Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 2003; 54(4):353-361
Publisher: C S I R O Publishing
Issue Date: 2003
ISSN: 0004-9409
Abstract: <jats:p> Power laws describe the relationships between the number N (s) and the size s of daily rainfall events, i.e. N (s) ~ s–τ, with higher τ corresponding to sites or seasons with greater frequency of small rainfall events. This paper tested the hypothesis that the rate of soil nitrogen mineralisation increases with increasing exponent τ, as affected by both spatial and temporal sources of variation. Rates of nitrogen mineralisation in an uncropped sandy loam soil were calculated using a simulation model with detailed nitrogen and water balances, and long-term weather data for 6 Australian locations in a range of annual rainfall from 260 to 360 mm. Daily rates of mineralisation were calculated using actual rainfall, and variable or fixed temperature and evaporative demand. The annual pattern of mineralisation rate, calculated as a function of rainfall and variable temperature and evaporative demand, was bimodal with peaks in April and November. These peaks disappeared and differences among locations were reduced when the effects of temperature and evaporative demand were removed. Under constant temperature and evaporative demand, mineralisation rates between April and November were 68% greater than rates between December and March. In the former period, characterised by a high frequency of small rainfall events, monthly mineralisation rate was a direct function of the amount of rainfall. In contrast, mineralisation was independent of the amount of rainfall during the period of larger, less frequent rainfall events from December to March. Parameter τ accounted for 75% of the variation in mineralisation rate in the period December–March and it also accounted for a substantial part of the variation between periods. </jats:p>
RMID: 0020031460
DOI: 10.1071/AR02113
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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