Grade Level:Middle School (grades 6-8, ages 11-14)
GLOBE Teacher:Steven Frantz
Report Type(s):International Virtual Science Symposium Report
Presentation Poster: View Document
Optional Badges: Make An Impact
Date Submitted:03/10/2016

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HOW DOES ASPHALT AFFECT SOIL TEMPERATURE. Suzanna Patia Vang. 751 Hudson Avenue, Akron, Ohio 44306-1956

The purpose of this project was to find out if a surface with a high albedo (the amount of light energy that is reflected.) such as asphalt affected surrounding short-grass soil temperature. The hypothesis was the closer the soil is to the asphalt the warmer the short-grass soil temperature will be. The GLOBE Program protocol for collecting soil temperature was followed using a Taylor 2” Bithermal Dial soil thermometer, spike, and Garmin eTrex Venture GPS unit. Four data collection points were identified at the site, which was at the teacher’s parking lot, at the edge of the asphalt, five meters and ten meters away from the asphalt into the short-grass. The data was also collected 5 centimeters and 10 centimeters into the short-grass soil, at each site. The data supported the hypothesis twelve out of the twelve days data was collected. The data was collected for 12 consecutive days, during the month of November. Several factors during the twelve days affecting the data were snow, ice, and rain. The data, however, showed there was minimal affect snow, ice, or rain had overall. Other relevant research can be done in the future such as extending planting seasons in close proximity to asphalt areas, further understanding the transfer of heat from asphalt areas to surrounding short-grass areas, or coloring asphalt a lighter color in an attempt to minimize this phenomenon.


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The report was well written and nicely done on the experimental design. The results were clearyly supported the idea of asphalt increased the temperature of the soil temperature. I would like to ask one question.
(1) What would you predict on the soil temperature at 0, 5 and 10 m away from the asphalt different time of the day (e.g. morning, afternoon, evening, midnight)?

I took data at around 10am. I think if I took data in the morning the soil temperature would be colder, because the sun has not been out for a long time yet. In the afternoon I think the soil temperature would be warmer than in the morning, because the sun has been out for a longer time period, which would warm up the soil. In the evening I think the soil temperature would be colder than in the afternoon but not as cold as the morning soil temperature, because in the evening the sun has been out for a longer time period but the sun is also setting. So the evening soil temperature would be slightly cooler than the afternoon temperature, but not as cold as the morning temperature. At midnight I think the soil temperature would also be as cold or even colder than the morning soil temperature, because there is no sun to get heat off of. So the soil temperature would be colder.

Although you didn't ask about the asphalt I think that the asphalt plays an important role. The reason why is that asphalt retains heat better (its albedo) than grass and soil. So throughout the day as the sun shines the asphalt would retain heat better.

Thank you for taking the time to read my poster.

Posted on 4/7/16 12:38 PM.

The research question and the topic is very interesting as well as the research report. My comments to your project are: The soil temperature is typically changing in depth slowly over the daytime and during the seasons. The asphalt over the ground has an immediate impact on the substrate but it affects more directly surface air temperature. Through the advection of warmed up surface air it could warm adjacent areas. However, this makes very small impact on the soil temperature in depth as the mean temperature over time has to be changed constantly in order to be reflected in depth of the soil profile. Also, please check once more the albedo definition.
My questions to you are:
1) Did you performed soil (substrate) temperature measures under the asphalt cover? Could you find any asphalt covered place (probably abandoned parking lot constantly exposed to sunlight) where you can drill a hole and check on a daily basis the soil temperature and compare it with adjacent areas?
2) You mentioned that asphalt can impact climate on a world scale and it is true due to the fact that urban areas already have their own micro-climate due to the artificial surfaces they are composed of. There is a whole area in remote sensing which deals with these problems. My question is - have you considered comparing your data with satellite measured land surface temperatures (so called LST data product) from MODIS? The data is freely available on a daily basis from NASA LP DAAC website as well as on Google Earth Engine - accessible through simple Google registration. I saw you already have a Gmail account so you can use it to enter the Earth Engine and check the LST over your study area during the time of your measurements.
3) What other artificial (man-made) covers you want to study in future?
Thank you in advance for your answers!

I did not collect soil temperature under the asphalt. I used a teachers parking lot to take soil temperature. I took data at the edge of the asphalt, 5 meters, and 10 meters away from the asphalt. I have not considered comparing my data with LST. But I will look into the data further. Other artificial covers I want to study are cement and concrete.
Thank you for taking time to read my poster.

Posted on 4/8/16 1:53 PM.

Bravo, good answer. Keep doing your great work.

Posted on 4/9/16 5:52 AM.

Thank you for your answers Suzanna! Indeed, you have to study the effect of the most commonly used materials and widespread artificial surfaces in order to build your picture of the climatic effect caused by human activities. Keep asking your questions - as only through asking science moves forward!

Posted on 4/9/16 7:03 AM.