Articles | Volume 12, issue 11
Biogeosciences, 12, 3253–3272, 2015

Special issue: Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes Study (iLEAPS)...

Biogeosciences, 12, 3253–3272, 2015

Research article 03 Jun 2015

Research article | 03 Jun 2015

Modelling the effect of soil moisture and organic matter degradation on biogenic NO emissions from soils in Sahel rangeland (Mali)

C. Delon1, E. Mougin2, D. Serça1, M. Grippa2, P. Hiernaux2, M. Diawara2, C. Galy-Lacaux1, and L. Kergoat2 C. Delon et al.
  • 1Laboratoire d'Aérologie, Université de Toulouse and CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 2Geosciences Environnement Toulouse, Université de Toulouse, CNRS and IRD, Toulouse, France

Abstract. This work is an attempt to provide seasonal variation of biogenic NO emission fluxes in a Sahelian rangeland in Mali (Agoufou, 15.34° N, 1.48° W) for years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Indeed, NO is one of the most important precursors for tropospheric ozone, and previous studies have shown that arid areas potentially display significant NO emissions (due to both biotic and abiotic processes). Previous campaigns in the Sahel suggest that the contribution of this region in emitting NO is no longer considered as negligible. However, very few data are available in this region, therefore this study focuses on model development. The link between NO production in the soil and NO release to the atmosphere is investigated in this modelling study, by taking into account vegetation litter production and degradation, microbial processes in the soil, emission fluxes, and environmental variables influencing these processes, using a coupled vegetation–litter decomposition–emission model. This model includes the Sahelian Transpiration Evaporation and Productivity (STEP) model for the simulation of herbaceous, tree leaf and faecal masses, the GENDEC model (GENeral DEComposition) for the simulation of the buried litter decomposition and microbial dynamics, and the NO emission model (NOFlux) for the simulation of the NO release to the atmosphere. Physical parameters (soil moisture and temperature, wind speed, sand percentage) which affect substrate diffusion and oxygen supply in the soil and influence the microbial activity, and biogeochemical parameters (pH and fertilization rate related to N content) are necessary to simulate the NO flux. The reliability of the simulated parameters is checked, in order to assess the robustness of the simulated NO flux. Simulated yearly average of NO flux ranges from 2.09 to 3.04 ng(N) m−2 s−1 (0.66 to 0.96 kg(N) ha−1 yr−1), and wet season average ranges from 3.36 to 5.48 ng(N) m−2 s−1 (1.06 to 1.73 kg(N) ha−1 yr−1). These results are of the same order as previous measurements made in several sites where the vegetation and the soil are comparable to the ones in Agoufou. This coupled vegetation–litter decomposition–emission model could be generalized at the scale of the Sahel region, and provide information where few data are available.

Short summary
This study provides seasonal and interannual variation of simulated biogenic NO emission fluxes in a Sahelian rangeland in Mali, a region where intense NO emissions occur during the wet season. Emissions are related to their biogeochemical origin, to the quantity of biomass, and to the quantity of livestock, which drive the N pool and N turnover in the soil, using a coupled vegetation–litter decomposition–emission model.
Final-revised paper