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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 6, issue 3
Biogeosciences, 6, 405–429, 2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 6, 405–429, 2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  18 Mar 2009

18 Mar 2009

An automated dynamic chamber system for surface exchange measurement of non-reactive and reactive trace gases of grassland ecosystems

L. Pape1, C. Ammann2, A. Nyfeler-Brunner2, C. Spirig2, K. Hens1, and F. X. Meixner1,3 L. Pape et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Biogeochemistry Department, P.O. Box 3060, 55020 Mainz, Germany
  • 2Agroscope ART Research Station, Reckenholzstrasse 191, 8046 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Physics, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Harare, Zimbabwe

Abstract. We present an automated dynamic chamber system which is optimised for continuous unattended flux measurements of multiple non-reactive and reactive trace gases on grassland ecosystems. Main design features of our system are (a) highly transparent chamber walls consisting of chemically inert material, (b) individual purging flow units for each chamber, and (c) a movable lid for automated opening and closing of the chamber. The purging flow rate was chosen high enough to keep the mean residence time of the chamber air below one minute. This guarantees a proven efficient mixing of the chamber volume and a fast equilibration after lid closing. The dynamic chamber system is able to measure emission as well as deposition fluxes of trace gases. For the latter case, the modification of the turbulent transport by the chamber (compared to undisturbed ambient conditions) is quantitatively described by a bulk resistance concept.

Beside a detailed description of the design and functioning of the system, results of field applications at two grassland sites are presented. In the first experiment, fluxes of five trace gases (CO2, H2O, NO, NO2, O3) were measured simultaneously on small grassland plots. It showed that the dynamic chamber system is able to detect the characteristic diurnal cycles with a sufficient temporal resolution. The results also demonstrated the importance of considering the chemical source/sink in the chamber due to gas phase reactions for the reactive compounds of the NO-NO2-O3 triad. In a second field experiment, chamber flux measurements of CO2 and methanol were compared to simultaneous independent eddy covariance flux measurements on the field scale. The fluxes obtained with the two methods showed a very good agreement indicating a minimal disturbance of the chambers on the physiological activity of the enclosed vegetation.

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