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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 22 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 22 Nov 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

On surface fluxes at night – the virtual chamber approach

Bruce B. Hicks1, Nebila Lichiheb2, Deb L. O'Dell3, Joel Oetting3, Neal S. Eash3, Mark Heuer2,4, and Latoya Myles2 Bruce B. Hicks et al.
  • 1MetCorps, P.O. Box 1510, Norris, TN 37828, USA
  • 2National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-2456, USA
  • 3Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee, 2506 E.J. Chapman Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
  • 4Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, USA

Abstract. Quantification of the emission rates of various gases from soils at night remains a challenge, confronting climate science (in the case of CO2 and CH4) and agriculture science (for NH3 and N2O, among others). In the stable conditions prevailing at night, concentrations of such emitted gases build up at the surface during the night, with intermittent interruptions commonly attributed to the passage of packets of turbulence. The utility of conventional micrometeorological experimental methods in such circumstances is questionable, and chamber methods have been developed to meet the challenge. Here, a statistical approach is proposed, in which micrometeorological field data are used to replicate the likely characteristics of a chamber experiment, yielding estimates of surface fluxes at the surface itself and not at some height above it. The methodology proposed is developmental at this time, with details intended to correspond to the use of both closed and vented chambers. Its application to three recent field studies is explored: (1) a study of nocturnal CO2 emission from two test areas (one previously tilled and the other not) in Ohio in 2015; (2) a similar experiment conducted in Zimbabwe in 2013 (one area previously tilled and a second left fallow), and (3) an investigation of NH3 effluxes from a crop previously treated with urea ammonium nitrate (UAN), in Illinois in 2014. There are few measurements with which to compare the results presented here, however the values obtained are within the range of available field data.

Bruce B. Hicks et al.
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Bruce B. Hicks et al.
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