Research Spotlight: Analyzing the ability of peat to trap gas bubbles

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Abstract

[1] Peatlands, thick deposits of partially decayed plant matter, are a globally important carbon store. Peat soils make up one third of the global soil carbon pool and provide one of the largest natural sources of methane to the atmosphere. Bubbles of methane, an important greenhouse gas, are produced by the decomposition of peat under waterlogged conditions. These bubbles increase in size until their buoyancy exceeds the forces keeping them in place, at which point methane bubbles move upward through the soil and are released at the surface in what is known as an ebullition event. These ebullition events are important because they may account for a large proportion of methane lost from peatlands. (Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences, doi:10.1029/2010JG001478, 2011)

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