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Soils as a sink for atmospheric methane, and the effects on the sink due to inputs of nitrogen

Objective

This project aims to determine the size of the soil as a sink for methane in Northern European terrestrial ecosystems, as a contribution towards its assessment in the mid-latitudes as a whole, as part also of the objective of IGBP.

Methane is an important greenhouse gas and its concentration is increasing rapidly in the atmosphere. Enhanced sources and diminished sinks are both suspected. One poorly quantified sink for methane is the uptake of methane by soil microbes. The project concentrates in particular on the extent to which the sink is reduced by mineral nitrogen in the soil (especially by ammonium). This is likely to be especially important in the northern mid-latitudes, where many terrestrial ecosystems receive substantial inputs of N, either deliberately as fertiliser or inadvertently by atmospheric deposition.

Methane oxidation rates will be measured in the field in forests, natural grassland, peatland and agricultural ecosystems receiving different inputs of nitrogen as fertiliser or atmospheric deposition. Both established and novel techniques will be applied over a range of scales. These include manual and automated chamber/gc methods at the <1 m{2} scale; very large chambers (62 m{2}) with LPFTIR analysis; a flux gradient micromet method at the ha scale; and eddy correlation with a new TDL system over larger areas. Parallel measurements will be made of the soil and other environmental factors affecting methane oxidation. Controlled experiments will be undertaken at scales ranging from the test-tube to 1 m{2} lysimeters.

The information obtained will be used to build a process-based model to predict consumption rates as a function of soil, land use and climate variables, and scale up to larger areas. This will provide an important step towards modelling the methane sink over the whole mid-latitudes, which is required for further modelling of climate change.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

University of Edinburgh
Address
Scottish Agricultural College West Mains Road
EH9 3JG Edinburgh
United Kingdom

Participants (5)

Agricultural University of Norway
Norway
Address

1432 Aas Nlh
GEORG-AUGUST-UNIVERSITY GOETTINGEN
Germany
Address
Buesgenweg 2
37077 Goettingen
Københavns Universitet
Denmark
Address
15,Universitetsparken
2100 København Ø
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL
United Kingdom
Address
Edinburgh Research Station Bush Estate
EH26 0QB Penicuik
SWEDISH ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE LTD-IVL SVENSKA MILJOININSTITUTET AB
Sweden
Address
43,Valhallavagen 81
11427 Stockholm