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Title: Greenhouse Gas Production and Transport in Desert Soils of the Southwestern United States

Abstract

Deserts comprise a large portion of the Earth's land area, yet their role in the fluxes and cycles of greenhouse gases is poorly known and their likely response to climate change largely unexplored. We report here a reconnaissance investigation of the concentrations and fluxes of CO 2, CH 4, and N 2O along two elevation (climate) gradients in the southwestern United States. In-soil concentrations of CO 2 increased with elevation (up to 5,000 ppm). Concentrations of CH 4 declined with depth in all soils (to less than 1 ppm), but the rates of decrease with depth increased with elevation. In contrast, concentrations and depth trends of N 2O varied erratically. Soils were net CO 2 sources (0 to >1,500 kg CO 2·ha -1·year -1), and net CH 4 sinks (0.2 to >3 kg CH 4·ha -1·year -1). The small and variable N 2O fluxes were inconsistent with the trends in soil N δ 15N values, which decreased by 5‰ to 6‰ over about 1,000 m of elevation. The high soil N δ 15N values (up to nearly 17‰ at the lowest elevation) indicate that there is a soil N loss mechanism that is highly depleted in 15N, and gaseous losses—eithermore » NH 3 or N 2O/N 2—are suspected of driving these values. In summary, there appears to be a strong climate control on both soil CO 2 and CH 4 concentrations and to a lesser degree on calculated fluxes. The soil N trace gas concentrations indicate that deserts can be either small sources or sinks of N 2O and that there may be significant consumption of arid soil N 2O.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States); Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; California Energy Commission (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
1502002
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1483350
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-741058
Journal ID: ISSN 0886-6236; 895365
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-07NA27344
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 32; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 0886-6236
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; carbon dioxide; methane; nitrous oxide; soil; deserts

Citation Formats

Oerter, Erik, Mills, Jennifer V., Maurer, Gregory E., Lammers, Laura Nielsen, and Amundson, Ronald. Greenhouse Gas Production and Transport in Desert Soils of the Southwestern United States. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1029/2018GB006035.
Oerter, Erik, Mills, Jennifer V., Maurer, Gregory E., Lammers, Laura Nielsen, & Amundson, Ronald. Greenhouse Gas Production and Transport in Desert Soils of the Southwestern United States. United States. doi:10.1029/2018GB006035.
Oerter, Erik, Mills, Jennifer V., Maurer, Gregory E., Lammers, Laura Nielsen, and Amundson, Ronald. Fri . "Greenhouse Gas Production and Transport in Desert Soils of the Southwestern United States". United States. doi:10.1029/2018GB006035.
@article{osti_1502002,
title = {Greenhouse Gas Production and Transport in Desert Soils of the Southwestern United States},
author = {Oerter, Erik and Mills, Jennifer V. and Maurer, Gregory E. and Lammers, Laura Nielsen and Amundson, Ronald},
abstractNote = {Deserts comprise a large portion of the Earth's land area, yet their role in the fluxes and cycles of greenhouse gases is poorly known and their likely response to climate change largely unexplored. We report here a reconnaissance investigation of the concentrations and fluxes of CO2, CH4, and N2O along two elevation (climate) gradients in the southwestern United States. In-soil concentrations of CO2 increased with elevation (up to 5,000 ppm). Concentrations of CH4 declined with depth in all soils (to less than 1 ppm), but the rates of decrease with depth increased with elevation. In contrast, concentrations and depth trends of N2O varied erratically. Soils were net CO2 sources (0 to >1,500 kg CO2·ha-1·year-1), and net CH4 sinks (0.2 to >3 kg CH4·ha-1·year-1). The small and variable N2O fluxes were inconsistent with the trends in soil N δ15N values, which decreased by 5‰ to 6‰ over about 1,000 m of elevation. The high soil N δ15N values (up to nearly 17‰ at the lowest elevation) indicate that there is a soil N loss mechanism that is highly depleted in 15N, and gaseous losses—either NH3 or N2O/N2—are suspected of driving these values. In summary, there appears to be a strong climate control on both soil CO2 and CH4 concentrations and to a lesser degree on calculated fluxes. The soil N trace gas concentrations indicate that deserts can be either small sources or sinks of N2O and that there may be significant consumption of arid soil N2O.},
doi = {10.1029/2018GB006035},
journal = {Global Biogeochemical Cycles},
issn = {0886-6236},
number = 11,
volume = 32,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {11}
}

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Works referenced in this record:

Separating root and soil microbial contributions to soil respiration: A review of methods and observations
journal, January 2000

  • Hanson, P. J.; Edwards, N. T.; Garten, C. T.
  • Biogeochemistry, Vol. 48, Issue 1, p. 115-146
  • DOI: 10.1023/A:1006244819642