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Soil Climate

Climate affects soil formation through local differences in precipitation (snowfall and rainfall) and temperature. It also indirectly influences the soil by determining the mass and distribution of plant communities, the soil water balance over long periods, the rate of decay of organic matter and any change in soil temperature.

Some General Trends

Rate of biological breakdown of organic matter is more active under cool, wet conditions. This leads to blanket peat formation within the Highlands of Scotland.
Rate of biological breakdown of organic matter is more active under cool, wet conditions. This leads to blanket peat formation within the Highlands of Scotland.
Temperature increases the rate of reactions:

  • For every 10°C rise in temperature, the speed of a chemical reaction increases by a factor of 2 or 3. This influences the weathering rate (hydrolysis) of soil minerals.
  • For every 10°C rise in temperature between 0°C and 35°C, microbial activity doubles. In temperate climates most micro-organisms are inactive below 5°C although many are capable of survival at both extremely hot (80°C) and cold (<0°C) conditions.

Learning & Resources


Printed from /learning/exploringscotland/soils/climate on 21/09/18 07:10:15 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.