A comparison of different solarisation systems and their impacts on soil thermal characteristics—an application in cultivated soils close to Baghdad, a highly populated city in Iraq

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Solarisation application by mulching the soil with a polyethene plastic film has a significant influence on soil thermal characteristics (TCs), which, in turn, show a strong impact on soil energy balance and agricultural productivity. In countries like Iraq with highly populated cities, such as Baghdad, that need large quantities of agriproducts, this kind of clean energy should play a key role in sustainable agricultural production. However, little is known about the effects of different soil solarisation systems in specific cultivated fields for this country characterised by an arid climate and silty clay soils. Therefore, an experimental study was conducted to investigate changes in soil TCs under different soil solarisation systems (black and clear plastics) at three different soil depths in a two-factor factorial design. Also, both the black and clear plastic plots were compared with a control (without mulch) plot treatment. Three different soil TCs were assessed, namely soil thermal flux (qℎ), soil thermal conductivity (k), and soil volumetric heat capacity (Cv). The results of this study indicated that the soil solarisation application had a significant influence on soil TCs. Soil qℎ decreased with increasing soil depth, while k and Cv exhibited an opposite trend. The black plastic mulch treatment produced higher soil qℎ, k, and Cv values than both the clear plastic and the control treatments. Moreover, high diurnal variability of the TCs was also registered, and the clear plastic conserved a higher temperature than the black one during the night hours. During daylight, the black mulch reached a maximum temperature of 70 °C. It is recommended that more research should be conducted to get new insights on the interplay of the different seasons, and different crops and soil types.

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Correspondence to Ahmed Abed Gatea Al-Shammary.

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Al-Shammary, A.A.G., Kouzani, A., Gyasi-Agyei, Y. et al. A comparison of different solarisation systems and their impacts on soil thermal characteristics—an application in cultivated soils close to Baghdad, a highly populated city in Iraq. Environ Monit Assess 192, 13 (2020) doi:10.1007/s10661-019-7985-z

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  • Soil energy balance
  • Solarisation
  • Plastic mulch
  • Soil thermal characteristics
  • Agricultural management system
  • Urban areas