Modelling microbial kinetics and thermodynamic processes for quantifying soil CO2 emission

Soumendra N. Bhanja, Junye Wang, Narayan K. Shrestha, Xiaokun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Soil respiration is a crucial source of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The underlying processes involved are multifaceted, sequential chemical reactions associated with the conversion of soil organic carbon to CO2. In this paper, we present a mechanistic, biogeochemical model to simulate soil CO2 emissions considering the microbial and sequential chemical processes using the well-established hydrological model, Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) for the first time. The soil CO2 emissions from multiple sequential soil chemical reactions were compared with the observed data at three sites in Canada. The results show that the modelled CO2 emission rates are in good agreement with the observed data with performance statistics: PBIAS: 0.13%–23%; NSE: 0.27 to 0.62; RSR: 0.60 to 0.84; R2: 0.29 to 0.83. This approach could be used in future regional to global-scale models for simulating the soil CO2 emission and hydrological processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul. 2019


  • Biogeochemical modelling
  • Carbon
  • Climate change
  • SWAT-MKT model
  • Soil CO emission
  • Watershed model


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