Comparison of different chamber techniques for measuring soil CO2 efflux


Pumpanen J, Kolari P, Ilvesniemi H, Minkkinen K, Vesala T, Niinistö S, Lohila A, Larmola T, Morero M, Pihlatie M, Janssens I, Yuste JC, Grunzweig JM, Reth S, Subke J, Savage K, Kutsch W, Ostreng G, Ziegler W, Anthoni P, Lindroth A & Hari P (2004) Comparison of different chamber techniques for measuring soil CO2 efflux. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 123 (3-4), pp. 159-176.

Twenty chambers for measurement of soil CO2 efflux were compared against known CO2 fluxes ranging from 0.32 to 10.01 molCO2 m−2 s−1 and generated by a specially developed calibration tank. Chambers were tested on fine and coarse homogeneous quartz sand with particle sizes of 0.05–0.2 and 0.6 mm, respectively. The effect of soil moisture on chamber measurementswas tested by wetting the fine quartz sand to about25%volumetricwater content. Non-steady-state through-flow chambers either underestimated or overestimated fluxes from−21 to+33% depending on the type of chamber and the method of mixing air within the chamber’s headspace. However, when results of all systems tested were averaged, fluxes were within 4% of references. Non-steady-state on-through-flow chambers underestimated or overestimated fluxes from –35 to +6%.On average, the underestimation was about 13–14% on fine sand and 4% on coarse sand. When the length of the measurement period was increased, the underestimation increased due to the rising concentration within the chamber headspace, which reduced the diffusion gradient within the soil. Steady-state through-flow chambers worked almost equally well in all sand types used in this study. They overestimated the fluxes on average by 2–4%. Overall, the reliability of the chambers was not related to the measurement principle per se. Even the same chambers, with different collar designs, showed highly variable results. The mixing of air within the chamber can be a major source of error. Excessive turbulence inside the chamber can cause mass flow of CO2 from the soil into the chamber. The chamber headspace concentration also affects the flux by altering the concentration gradient between the soil and the chamber.

Chamber; Diffusion; Porosity; Soil CO2 efflux; Turbulence; Carbon dioxide; Environmental Studies; Atmospheric carbon dioxide Environmental aspects.; Soil respiration

Agricultural and Forest Meteorology: Volume 123, Issue 3-4

Publication date30/06/2004
PublisherElsevier Masson