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.

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Zepp et al. 1996. Effects of moisture and burning on soil-atmosphere exchange of trace carbon gases in a southern African savanna

Zepp, R.G., Miller, W.L., Burke, R.A., Parsons, D.A.B., Scholes, M.C., 1996. Effects of moisture and burning on soil-atmosphere exchange of trace carbon gases in a southern African savanna. J. Geophys. Res. 101, 23699-23706. doi:10.1029/95jd01371.


Soil fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and carbon monoxide (CO) were measured during a period of extreme drought at semi-arid savanna sites located in the Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa, as part of the SAFARI-92 experiments (Sept., 1992). Soil respiration in this savanna was little affected by burning, but was strongly stimulated by addition of moisture. Mean soil respiration from the dry soil was 0.4 g C m−2 d−1 in open savanna plots that had been burned biennially and 0.5 g C m−2 d−1 in woody savanna plots. A light natural rain (about 0.6 mm) increased the CO2 flux in the open savanna sites by 5-fold but the effect was short-lived. A simulated heavy rain (25 mm of added distilled water) increased CO2 fluxes by over an order of magnitude in both burned and control sites and the emissions remained over 5 times pre-wetting values during a week of drying. Over 65% of our measurements indicated no significant soil-atmosphere methane exchange; most of the few non-zero measurements indicated a small (<1 mg CH4-C m−2 d−1) flux of methane to the atmosphere. Soil-atmosphere CH4 exchange was not significantly affected by either burning the grass layer or by the addition of distilled water to the soil. The net soil CO fluxes, which generally increased with increasing soil temperature, were positive up to 356 × 109 molecules cm−2 s−1 with an average of 8.8 × 1010 molecules cm−2 s−1 for the untreated open savanna plots. After burning, the fluxes rose by over an order of magnitude but dropped back to preburn levels within a few days. Observed CO fluxes were higher than those previously reported for southern Africa savannas during non-drought conditions. Added moisture had little effect on CO fluxes during the 3-week period of SAFARI-92.

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