University of Oulu

Kemppinen, J., Niittynen, P., Rissanen, T., Tyystjärvi, V., Aalto, J., & Luoto, M. (2023). Soil moisture variations from boreal forests to the tundra. Water Resources Research, 59, e2022WR032719.

Soil moisture variations from boreal forests to the tundra

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Author: Kemppinen, J.1; Niittynen, P.2; Rissanen, T.3;
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
3Research Centre for Ecological Change, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
4Weather and Climate Change Impact Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
5Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 15.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: American Geophysical Union, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-03


Soil moisture has a profound influence on life on Earth, and this vital water resource varies across space and time. Here, we explored soil moisture variations in boreal forest and tundra environments, where comprehensive soil moisture datasets are scarce. We installed soil moisture sensors up to 14 cm depth at 503 measurement sites within seven study areas across northern Europe. We recorded 6,138,528 measurements to capture soil moisture variations of the snowless season from April to September 2020. We described the spatio-temporal patterns of soil moisture, and test how these patterns are linked to topography and how these links vary in space and time. We found large spatial variation and often less pronounced temporal variation in soil moisture across the measurement sites within all study areas. We found that throughout the measurement periods both univariate and multivariate models with topographic predictors showed great temporal variation in their performance and in the relative influence of the predictors within and across the areas. We found that the soil moisture-topography relationships are site-specific, as the topography-based models often performed poorly when transferred from one area to another. There was no general solution that would work well in all the study areas when modeling soil moisture variation with topography. This should be carefully considered before applying topographic proxies for soil moisture. Overall, these data and results highlight the strong spatio-temporal heterogeneity of soil moisture conditions in boreal forest and tundra environments.

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Series: Water resources research
ISSN: 0043-1397
ISSN-E: 1944-7973
ISSN-L: 0043-1397
Volume: 59
Issue: 6
Article number: e2022WR032719
DOI: 10.1029/2022WR032719
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
Funding: We acknowledge funding for fieldwork and equipment by the Nordenskiöld samfundet, Tiina and Antti Herlin foundation, and Maa-ja vesitekniikan tuki ry. JK was funded by the Academy of Finland (project number 349606), and the Arctic Interactions at the University of Oulu and Academy of Finland (project number 318930, Profi 4). PN was funded by the Academy of Finland (project number 347558), the Nessling foundation, and the Kone Foundation. TR was funded by the Doctoral Program in Geosciences, University of Helsinki. JA acknowledges the Academy of Finland Flagship funding (project number 337552).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 349606
Detailed Information: 349606 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2023. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.