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Influence of high-frequency ambient pressure pumping on carbon dioxide efflux from soil


Takle, Eugene S.; Massman, William J.; Brandle, James R.; Schmidt, R. A.; Zhou, Xinhua; Litvina, Irina V.; Garcia, Rick; Doyle, Geoffrey; Rice, Charles W. 2004. Influence of high-frequency ambient pressure pumping on carbon dioxide efflux from soil. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 124: 193-206.

doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2004.01.014

We report measurements at 2Hz of pressure fluctuations at and beneath the soil in an agricultural field with dry soil and no vegetation. The objective of our study was to examine the possible role of pressure fluctuations produced by fluctuations in ambient wind on the efflux of CO2 at the soil surface.We observed that pressure fluctuations penetrate to 50 cm in the soil with little attenuation, thereby providing a mechanism for bulk transport of trace gases throughout the porous medium. Concurrent measurements of CO2 fluxes from the soil surface produced systematically larger values for larger values of root-mean-square pressure, pumping rate, and mean wind speed. Soil CO2 fluxes measured under conditions conducive to pressure pumping exceeded the diffusional fluxes, estimated from use of Fick's Law and concurrent vertical profiles of soil CO2, by a factor of 5-10. Extrapolation of measured fluxes to conditions uninfluenced by pressure pumping revealed that other mechanisms, such as thermal expansion of soil air caused by soil heating or flushing by evaporating water deep in the soil, may be contributing up to 60% to measured fluxes. Ambient meteorological conditions leading to flux enhancement may change on scales of hours to months, so these results underscore the need to report concurrent meteorological conditions when surface CO2 efflux measurements are made. They further suggest that fluctuations in the static pressure fields introduced by wind interactions with terrain and vegetation may lead to pressure pumping at the surface and hence large spatial inhomogeneities in soil fluxes of trace gases. Although our measurements were made at an agricultural field site and focused onCO2 efflux, the pressure pumping mechanism will be active on other sites, including forest environments, snow-covered surfaces, and fractured rocky surfaces. Furthermore, the physical processes examined apply to movement of other trace gases such as oxygen, water vapor, and methane.

Keywords: soil ventilation, soil gas transport, soil CO2 flux


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Influence of high-frequency ambient pressure pumping on carbon dioxide efflux from soil
Electronic Publish Date: May 23, 2013
Last Update:
May 23, 2013

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