Carbon fluxes of surfaces vs. ecosystems

Advantages of measuring eddy covariance and soil respiration simultaneously in dry grassland ecosystems

Z. Nagy, K. Pintér, M. Pavelka, E. Darenová, J. Balogh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

An automated open system for measurement of soil CO 2 efflux (Rsc) was developed and calibrated against known fluxes. The system was tested in the field, while estimating soil respiration simultaneously by the gradient method (R sg) at a dry, sandy grassland site (Bugac, Hungary). Ecosystem respiration (Rego) was measured using the eddy covariance technique. The small chamber size (5 cm in diameter) made it possible to use the chambers in vegetation gaps, thereby avoiding the necessity of removing shoots and disturbing the spatial structure of vegetation and the upper soil layer. Low air flow rates associated with small chamber volume and chamber design allowed the overpressure range to stabilize between 0.05-0.12 Pa. The correlation between ecosystem and soil CO 2 efflux rates as measured by the independent methods was significant, R eco rates were similar or even lower than Rsc in the low flux (up to 2 μmol CO 2 m -2 s -1) range but the differences were within the uncertainty limits for the two fluxes. Rsc from trenched and non-trenched plots amounted to 16 % and 44 % of Reco, respectively. The gradient method showed both up and downward CO 2 fluxes originating from the main rooting zone after rains. Diffusive retardation played a smaller role than CO 2 production considering the soil air CO 2 concentration increase after rains in a given layer. Downward fluxes within the soil profile amounted to 15 % of the simultaneous upward fluxes and to ∼7.6 % of the total (upward) effluxes during the 3-month study. The upper 5 cm soil layer contributed to ∼50 % of the total soil CO 2 efflux. Downward fluxes are expected to seriously affect (1) the R eco vs. temperature response functions and (2) the net ecosystem exchange of CO 2 (NEE) vs. photon flux density response functions, therefore potentially affecting the gap filling procedures and to lead to a situation (3) when the measured surface and the real time ecosystem fluxes will necessarily differ in the short term. Simultaneous measurements of R eco and soil CO 2 effluxes may reveal the timing and magnitude of the decoupling, thereby contributing to decreasing uncertainty associated with eddy flux measurements over flat terrains. While the correlations between CO 2 effluxes measured by independent systems are strong, R sg was generally larger than Rsc or Reco, mainly due to overestimation of effective diffusivity in the soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2523-2534
Number of pages12
JournalBiogeosciences
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Fingerprint

eddy covariance
soil respiration
carbon flux
grasslands
ecosystems
carbon
ecosystem
soil
net ecosystem exchange
photon flux density
vegetation
soil air
uncertainty
overpressure
flux measurement
rooting
low flow
rain
diffusivity
airflow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Carbon fluxes of surfaces vs. ecosystems : Advantages of measuring eddy covariance and soil respiration simultaneously in dry grassland ecosystems. / Nagy, Z.; Pintér, K.; Pavelka, M.; Darenová, E.; Balogh, J.

In: Biogeosciences, Vol. 8, No. 9, 2011, p. 2523-2534.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "An automated open system for measurement of soil CO 2 efflux (Rsc) was developed and calibrated against known fluxes. The system was tested in the field, while estimating soil respiration simultaneously by the gradient method (R sg) at a dry, sandy grassland site (Bugac, Hungary). Ecosystem respiration (Rego) was measured using the eddy covariance technique. The small chamber size (5 cm in diameter) made it possible to use the chambers in vegetation gaps, thereby avoiding the necessity of removing shoots and disturbing the spatial structure of vegetation and the upper soil layer. Low air flow rates associated with small chamber volume and chamber design allowed the overpressure range to stabilize between 0.05-0.12 Pa. The correlation between ecosystem and soil CO 2 efflux rates as measured by the independent methods was significant, R eco rates were similar or even lower than Rsc in the low flux (up to 2 μmol CO 2 m -2 s -1) range but the differences were within the uncertainty limits for the two fluxes. Rsc from trenched and non-trenched plots amounted to 16 {\%} and 44 {\%} of Reco, respectively. The gradient method showed both up and downward CO 2 fluxes originating from the main rooting zone after rains. Diffusive retardation played a smaller role than CO 2 production considering the soil air CO 2 concentration increase after rains in a given layer. Downward fluxes within the soil profile amounted to 15 {\%} of the simultaneous upward fluxes and to ∼7.6 {\%} of the total (upward) effluxes during the 3-month study. The upper 5 cm soil layer contributed to ∼50 {\%} of the total soil CO 2 efflux. Downward fluxes are expected to seriously affect (1) the R eco vs. temperature response functions and (2) the net ecosystem exchange of CO 2 (NEE) vs. photon flux density response functions, therefore potentially affecting the gap filling procedures and to lead to a situation (3) when the measured surface and the real time ecosystem fluxes will necessarily differ in the short term. Simultaneous measurements of R eco and soil CO 2 effluxes may reveal the timing and magnitude of the decoupling, thereby contributing to decreasing uncertainty associated with eddy flux measurements over flat terrains. While the correlations between CO 2 effluxes measured by independent systems are strong, R sg was generally larger than Rsc or Reco, mainly due to overestimation of effective diffusivity in the soil.",
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