Influence of climate on soil organic carbon in Chinese paddy soils

Dandan Wang, Yechao Yan, Xinhui Li, Xuezheng Shi, Zhongqi Zhang, David C. Weindorf, Hongjie Wang, Shengxiang Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a major component of the global carbon cycle and has a potentially large impact on the greenhouse effect. Paddy soils are important agricultural soils worldwide, especially in Asia. Thus, a better understanding of the relationship between SOC of paddy soils and climate variables is crucial to a robust understanding of the potential effect of climate change on the global carbon cycle. A soil profile data set (n = 1490) from the Second National Soil Survey of China conducted from 1979 to 1994 was used to explore the relationships of SOC density with mean annual temperature (MAT) and mean annual precipitation (MAP) in six soil regions and eight paddy soil subgroups. Results showed that SOC density of paddy soils was negatively correlated with MAT and positively correlated with MAP (P < 0.01). The relationships of SOC density with MAT and MAP were weak and varied among the six soil regions and eight paddy soil subgroups. A preliminary assessment of the response of SOC in Chinese paddy soils to climate indicated that climate could lead to a 13% SOC loss from paddy soils. Compared to other soil regions, paddy soils in Northern China will potentially more sensitive to climate change over the next several decades. Paddy soils in Middle and Lower Yangtze River Basin could be a potential carbon sink. Reducing the climate impact on paddy soil SOC will mitigate the positive feedback loop between SOC release and global climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-361
Number of pages11
JournalChinese Geographical Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • climate change
  • mean annual precipitation
  • mean annual temperature
  • paddy soils
  • soil organic carbon


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