We have created this Blog and the database to provide a place where the scientific community can share and update the fast growing knowledge and data on the study of greenhouse gas CO2, CH4, and N2O fluxes in Africa.

We are grateful for the numerous researchers and technicians who provide invaluable data. It is impossible to cite all the references due to limited space allowed and we apologize for the authors whose work has not been cited.

Delmas et al. 1991. Sources and sinks of methane in African Savanna. CH4 emissions from biomass burning

Delmas, R.A., Marenco, A., Tathy, J.P., Cros, B., Baudet, J.G.R., 1991. Sources and sinks of methane in African Savanna. CH4 emissions from biomass burning. J. Geophys. Res. 96, 7287-7299. doi:10.1029/90jd02496.


Sources and sinks of atmospheric methane are studied in savanna regions of west and central Africa. Flux measured over dry savanna soils, using static chambers, is always negative the average uptake rate being 2 × 1010 molecules/cm2/s. In these regions, sources are linked to biomass burning. Methane and CO2 emission from combustion of savanna plants and wood is studied by both field experiments and laboratory experiments using a combustion chamber. For savanna plants most of the carbon (85%) contained in the biomaterial is volatilized as CO2 and 0.1 to 0.25% as methane. For graminaceous plants like loudetia simplex the ratio C-CH4/C-CO2 is 0.11%; it is 0.28% for hyparrhenia the other main type of savanna plants and it attains 1.4% for the combustion of wood. In natural fire plumes this ratio is around 0.26% for savanna fires and 0.56 to 2.22% for forest fires. These results show that methane release is highly dependent on the type of combustion. Methane to CO2 ratios are also studied in vertical profiles in the troposphere taken during the TROPOZ I campaign, an aerial research expedition carried out over west Africa during the bushfire period. Within polluted layers, the average ratio of CH4 to CO2 excess over ambient air concentration is 0.34%. These results show that biomass burning in tropical Africa constitutes an important source of atmospheric methane estimated to about 9.2 × 106 T(CH4)/yr.

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