The soil temperature in rural areas of the Netherlands has increased by an average of 1.5 degrees Celsius over the past 40 years, according to scientists from Wageningen University & Research.
“The rise in air temperature due to climate change is partly buffered because the soil stores that heat. As a result, the soil temperature also rises,” they said. The soil temperature at four KNMI measurement sites was 1.2 to 1.8 degrees higher.
“Based on experiments abroad, it is expected for the soil to dry out heavily in areas with little vegetation, such as heaths, dunes, and sand drifts. As a result, the soil temperature can rise much more than the average air temperature,” warned Guido Bakema, soil researcher at Wageningen Environmental Research. A shift in vegetation types could also take place.
Soil temperature is only one of the factors that play a role in natural vegetation. The availability of water is the more decisive, the researchers said. Also, the effect of vegetation on soil temperature is greater than that of soil temperature on vegetation.