01 Mar 2022
01 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A Repository of 100+ Years of Measured Soil Freezing Characteristic Curves

Élise G. Devoie1,2, Stephan Gruber2, and Jeffrey M. McKenzie1 Élise G. Devoie et al.
  • 1McGill University, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Montréal, Canada
  • 2Carleton University, Geography and Environmental Studies, Ottawa, Canada

Abstract. Soil freeze-thaw processes play a fundamental role in the hydrology, geomorphology, ecology, thermodynamics and soil chemistry of a cold-regions landscape. In understanding these processes, the temperature of the soil is used as a proxy to represent the soil ice content through a soil freezing characteristic curve (SFCC). This mathematical construct relates the soil ice content to a specific temperature for a particular soil. SFCCs depend on many factors including soil properties (e.g., porosity, composition, etc.), soil pore water pressure, dissolved salts, (hysteresis in) freezing/thawing point depression, and degree of saturation, all of which can be site-specific and time varying. SFCCs have been measured using various methods for diverse soils since 1921, and to date this data has not been broadly compared, in part because it has not previously been compiled in a single data set. The dataset presented in this publication includes SFCC data digitized or received from authors, and includes both historic and modern studies. The data is stored in an open-source repository, and an R package is available to facilitate its use. Aggregating the data has pointed out some data gaps, namely that there are few studies of coarse soils, and comparably few in-situ measurements of SFCCs in mountainous environments. It is hoped that this dataset will aid in the development of SFCC theory, and improve SFCC approximations in soil freeze-thaw modelling activities.

Élise G. Devoie et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-61', Anonymous Referee #1, 29 Mar 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2022-61', Anonymous Referee #2, 02 May 2022

Élise G. Devoie et al.

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A Repository of 100+ Years of Measured Soil Freezing Characteristic Curves Élise Devoie, Stephan Gruber, Jeffrey McKenzie

Élise G. Devoie et al.


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Short summary
Soil Freezing Characteristic Curves (SFCCs) relate the temperature of a soil to its ice content. SFCCs are needed in all physically-based numerical models representing freezing and thawing soils, and affect the movement of water in the subsurface, biogeochemical processes, soil mechanics and ecology. There is over a century of SFCC data that shows high variability in SFCCs based on soil texture, water content and other factors. This repository summarizes the all available SFCC data and metadata.