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Determination of the gas diffusion coefficient of a peat grassland soil

Boon, A., Robinson, J.S. ORCID:, Nightingale, P.D., Cardenas, L., Chadwick, D.R. and Verhoef, A. ORCID: (2013) Determination of the gas diffusion coefficient of a peat grassland soil. European Journal of Soil Science, 64 (5). pp. 681-687. ISSN 1351-0754

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/ejss.12056


Peatland habitats are important carbon stocks that also have the potential to be significant sources of greenhouse gases, particularly when subject to changes such as artificial drainage and application of fertilizer. Models aiming to estimate greenhouse gas release from peatlands require an accurate estimate of the diffusion coefficient of gas transport through soil (Ds). The availability of specific measurements for peatland soils is currently limited. This study measured Ds for a peat soil with an overlying clay horizon and compared values with those from widely available models. The Ds value of a sandy loam reference soil was measured for comparison. Using the Currie (1960) method, Ds was measured between an air-filled porosity (ϵ) range of 0 and 0.5 cm3 cm−3. Values of Ds for the peat cores ranged between 3.2 × 10−4 and 4.4 × 10−3 m2 hour−1, for loamy clay cores between 0 and 4.7 × 10−3 m2 hour−1 and for the sandy reference soil they were between 5.4 × 10−4 and 3.4 × 10−3 m2 hour−1. The agreement of measured and modelled values of relative diffusivity (Ds/D0, with D0 the diffusion coefficient through free air) varied with soil type; however, the Campbell (1985) model provided the best replication of measured values for all soils. This research therefore suggests that the use of the Campbell model in the absence of accurately measured Ds and porosity values for a study soil would be appropriate. Future research into methods to reduce shrinkage of peat during measurement and therefore allow measurement of Ds for a greater range of ϵ would be beneficial.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:33055


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