EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

An open-field multifactor experiment to simulate extreme climate events for observation of soils and plants

Gwang-Jung Kim1, Heejae Jo1, Min Seok Cho2, Nam Jin Noh3, Seung Hyun Han4, and Yowhan Son1
Gwang-Jung Kim et al.
  • 1Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea (
  • 2Research Planning and Coordination Division, National Institute of Forest Science, Seoul, Republic of Korea (
  • 3Department of Forest Resources, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Republic of Korea (
  • 4Forest Technology and Management Research Center, National Institute of Forest Science, Pocheon, Republic of Korea (

Extreme climate events, generally defined as inordinately hotter, drier, or wetter compared to the historical period, are showing an increasing trend in terms of their frequency, intensity, and magnitude. They can impair the recovery system of plants, and thus, there is a need to understand their effects on plants. Here, we constructed a temperature and precipitation manipulation system to simulate extreme climate events for plants in the open field in April, 2020. We applied a factorial combination of three temperature levels (control, +3 °C, and +6 °C) and three precipitation levels (control, drought, and heavy rainfall) with six replicates (i.e., 54 plots of 1.5 m × 1.0 m) from April to June, 2020. Infrared heaters were adopted for simulating extreme heat since they are able to provide a realistic heating mechanism. The targeted temperature was automatically maintained by the data loggers and relays. For the extreme drought simulation, automatic rainout shelters intercepted ambient rainfall, closing only when detecting rainfall to avoid a disturbance of light absorption and passive warming. The rainfall simulator sprayed water from a height of 1.6 m above the ground using spraying nozzles and, the spraying time and pressure were set by the hooked-up pump and control panel to generate realistic rainfall. An infrared thermometer and a soil moisture and temperature sensor per plot measured the soil surface temperature and soil water content, respectively. As a result, the infrared heaters increased the mean soil surface temperature (°C ± standard error) by 2.7 ± 0.2 and 5.7 ± 0.5 in the +3 °C and +6 °C plots, respectively, compared to that in the control. The rainout shelter and rainfall simulator successfully produced extreme drought and heavy rainfall conditions, showing higher mean soil water contents (vol. %) of 4.44 ± 0.01 in the drought plots and 8.45 ± 0.03 in the heavy rainfall plots than that in the control (7.19 ± 0.03). Our multifactor manipulation system can provide a mechanistic understanding of the combined extreme stresses on soils and plants (e.g., soil microbial activity, seed germination, and growth of seedlings) through the comparison between the impact of single and multiple factors. Furthermore, the system has the advantage of applying diverse intensities of extreme climate events without restrictions on regions and scenarios by altering the settings of data loggers or the control panel. The system in this study can aid in investigating and modeling the mechanisms between extreme climate events, and soils and plants.

Acknowledgment: This study was carried out with the support of the National Research Foundation, Republic of Korea (Project No. 2022R1A2C1011309) and Korea Forest Service (Project No. 2020181A00-2222-BB01).

How to cite: Kim, G.-J., Jo, H., Cho, M. S., Noh, N. J., Han, S. H., and Son, Y.: An open-field multifactor experiment to simulate extreme climate events for observation of soils and plants, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-2530,, 2023.