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Winter carbon dioxide effluxes from Arctic ecosystems - A presentation of a novel trace gas method and comparison with previously used methodologies

Conference paper
Authors Mats P. Björkman
Elke Morgner
Elisabeth J. Cooper
Bo Elberling
Leif Klemedtsson
Robert G. Björk
Published in Eos Trans. AGU, 90(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract A54D-03.
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Keywords Gas chamber measurements; Gradient techniques; Snow; Soil CO2 respiration; Trace gas technique (SF6); Tundra
Subject categories Biological Sciences

Abstract

Winter CO2 efflux from subnivean environments is an important component of annual C budgets in arctic ecosystems and consequently makes prediction and estimations of winter processes as well as incorporations of these processes into existing models important. Several methods have been used for estimating winter CO2 production, by using different snow pack assumptions. Here, measurements from three commonly used methods and one novel trace gas method used during the winter 2007-2008 are compared and discussed: (1) measurements with chamber on snow surface, Fsnow, (2) chamber measurements directly on the soil, Fsoil, after snow removal, (3) diffusion measurements, F2-point, within the snow pack, and (4) a novel trace gas technique, FSF6, with multiple gas sampling within the snow pack. According to measurements in shallow and deep snow cover in High-arctic Svalbard and Sub-arctic Sweden total winter emissions from the trace gas technique, 0.004-0.248 kg CO2 m-2, were found to be in the lower range of those previously described in the literature, however, results from all four methods differ by up to two orders of magnitude. Highest mean winter CO2 effluxes were observed using Fsoil, 7.7-216.8 mg CO2 m-2 h-1, and lowest values using FSF6, 0.8-12.6 mg CO2 m-2 h-1. Fsnow and F2-point were both within the lower range, 2.1-15.1 mg CO2 m-2 h-1 and 6.8-11.2 mg CO2 m-2 h-1, respectively. Differences are considered a result of contrasting methods but also that the assumptions within the methods are not equivalent when quantifying CO2 production and effluxes to the atmosphere. As snow can act as a barrier for CO2, Fsoil is assumed to measure soil production whereas FSF6, Fsnow and F2-point are considered better approaches for quantifying exchange processes between the soil, snow, and the atmosphere. This study indicates that estimation of winter CO2 emissions might vary more due to the method used than due to the actual variation in soil CO2 production or release. This is of major concern, especially when CO2 efflux data is used in climate models or in carbon budget calculations and highlights the need for further development and validation of techniques.

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