Articles | Volume 12, issue 12
Technical note
24 Jun 2015
Technical note |  | 24 Jun 2015

Technical Note: Cost-efficient approaches to measure carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes and concentrations in terrestrial and aquatic environments using mini loggers

D. Bastviken, I. Sundgren, S. Natchimuthu, H. Reyier, and M. Gålfalk

Abstract. Fluxes of CO2 are important for our understanding of the global carbon cycle and greenhouse gas balances. Several significant CO2 fluxes in nature may still be unknown as illustrated by recent findings of high CO2 emissions from aquatic environments, previously not recognized in global carbon balances. Therefore, it is important to develop convenient and affordable ways to measure CO2 in many types of environments. At present, direct measurements of CO2 fluxes from soil or water, or CO2 concentrations in surface water, are typically labor intensive or require costly equipment. We here present an approach with measurement units based on small inexpensive CO2 loggers, originally made for indoor air quality monitoring, that were tested and adapted for field use. Measurements of soil–atmosphere and lake–atmosphere fluxes, as well as of spatiotemporal dynamics of water CO2 concentrations (expressed as the equivalent partial pressure, pCO2aq) in lakes and a stream network are provided as examples. Results from all these examples indicate that this approach can provide a cost- and labor-efficient alternative for direct measurements and monitoring of CO2 flux and pCO2aq in terrestrial and aquatic environments.

Short summary
Measurements of concentrations and fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2) are fundamental to our understanding of carbon cycling and greenhouse gas balances. We are currently limited by the high cost of such measurements, making it difficult to properly investigate variability in space and time. This study presents measurement approaches that are very resource efficient in terms of equipment cost and measurement labor time, opening new opportunities to advance our knowledge of CO2 across landscapes.
Final-revised paper