Eddy covariance measurements of methane flux in a subarctic fen with emphasis on spring-melt period

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Hanis, Krista L.
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Reliable determinations of ecosystem scale fluxes of net carbon (C) and greenhouse gases for northern peatland ecosystems are of great value to determine the impact of soil warming and altered precipitation on emissions. Additionally, few studies have been performed which measure the C fluxes, particularly methane flux (FCH4), during the spring melt and fall freeze up periods, therefore making it difficult to provide adequate annual C estimates from northern peatland ecosystems. This study aimed to determine ecosystem scale FCH4 from a eutrophic Subarctic fen at Churchill, Manitoba (58°45'N 94°4'W), to understand (a) seasonal trends over two consecutive growing seasons,(b) if over-winter stored CH4 was released as a pulse during the spring-melt period, and (c) soil temperature - FCH4 relations for modelling FCH4 over the spring-melt period. An ecosystem scale methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) flux measurement system using the eddy covariance (EC) technique was used from late-June to mid-October of 2008 and early-June to late-September of 2009, with focus on the spring-melt period of late-May to mid-July of 2009. The EC flux measurement system consisted of a closed-path RMT-200 Fast Methane Analyzer (Los Gatos Research Inc.) along with a LI-7500 open-path CO2/H2O gas analyzer (LI-COR Biosci.) and a CSAT3 3-dimensional sonic anemometer (Campbell Sci.). The system was powered by a combination of wind, solar, and gas electric generation. The EC flux measurement system provided seasonal FCH4 values of 0 – 90 nmol CH4 m-2 s-1, similar to previous studies in Subarctic and Arctic peatlands which incorporated the EC technique. A melt period CH4 emission burst was not observed, rather a gradual increase in emission over the spring period. Modelled FCH4 using a temperature-response curve relationship with soil temperature at 5 cm depth over the spring-melt period (May 30 – July 19, 2009) showed the fen to be a net source of CH4, of 1.4 mmol m-2 CO2 equivalent.
methane, peatlands, subarctic, permafrost, greenhouse gas, climate change, carbon dioxide, fen