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# Temperature distribution at different depths of soil

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

## Challenge 2- Temperature distribution in different depths of the soil

Design

Research Question: Does water affect the distribution of temperature in different depths of the soil?

Hypothesis: First of all, I believe that as the depth of the soil increases the temperature of it will decrease. This is true because at the surface the soil is warmed by the air i.e. thermal energy is transferred from the air to the soil. The air is warmed by the sun. However, as we increase the depth of the soil, there is less or virtually no contact with air and therefore the temperature of the soil should decrease. Despite this, our question looks at how the water affects the temperature distribution in different depths of the soil. As we know from thermal physics, thermal energy transfers from hot places to cold. Consequently, because the lake is warmed by the sun, the soil that is closer to the water must be warmer due to the fact that as the water enters the soil, thermal energy is transferred from it to the soil thus increasing the soil’s temperature.

Variables:

Independent variable: Essentially, in this investigation we have two independent variables. Our first independent variable is the depth of the soil that we will change every time we take a measurement of the temperature and our second variable is the distance from the lake.

Middle

Depth/ cm (±1cm)

0

4

8

12

16

20

24

28

32

36

40

Temp/ °C (± 0,05°C)

12,1

9,2

9,0

8,8

8,7

8,5

8,3

8,1

8,0

7,8

7,7

Table showing the temperature at different depths of the soil that is closer to the water. (All readings to 1 decimal place)

 Depth/ cm (±1cm) 0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 Temp/ °C (± 0,05°C) 11,6 8,5 8,3 8,0 8,0 7,9 7,8 7,6 7,3 7,2 7,1

Data processing:

Because we are only really looking at the difference in temperature and we didn’t take many readings, there isn’t much we could do in terms of processing the data. However, to make the comparison easier and more worthwhile we will look at the temperature difference between the two soils. I subtracted the temperature of the second soil from the first soil:

Conclusion

In terms of weaknesses in our experiment, it would have been much more convenient digging three holes in each area (or more) in order to calculate averages to get much more accurate results but time constraints didn’t allow for this. Another weakness was that the soils where we dug were at different altitudes. The one next to the water was at an altitude of 176m whereas the one far away from the water was at an altitude of 189m.

Improvements: There are several improvements that can be made to make this investigation more reliable and relevant. First of all, to oppose our main weakness, it is essential to take more readings i.e. dig more than one hole and repeat the experiment to get averages. Furthermore, it would be good if more than temperature probe existed because then the temperature readings would be taken at the same time. Consequently, time would become a controlled variable. Finally, it would be convenient to use a spirit level to make sure that our ruler is always held straight and hence this would reduce our random errors.

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