Water Resources Research

Heterogeneity of biogenic gas ebullition in subtropical peat soils is revealed using time-lapse cameras



[1] We tested a set of biogenic gas traps combined with time-lapse cameras to investigate the heterogeneous nature of biogenic gas ebullition events in subtropical peat soils at both the laboratory and field scale. The main findings are: (1) ebullition events in peat soils are highly heterogeneous; (2) estimates of flux rate are directly influenced by temporal scale of measurement with rapid (i.e., hourly) releasing events exceeding daily averages by one order of magnitude; and (3) increases in atmospheric pressure result in gas release from shallow peat soils into the atmosphere (i.e., ebullition), as indicated by a positive linear relation between changes in biogenic gas content and changes in atmospheric pressure. These results suggest that biogenic gas releases from shallow subtropical peat soils are not constant with larger than average daily fluxes being potentially released within hours during periods of increased atmospheric pressure. Furthermore, this study also shows the potential of time-lapse cameras for autonomously assessing the temporal variation in biogenic gas flux to the atmosphere from peatlands, and questions what temporal scale of measurement should be appropriate to infer dynamics of biogenic gas release in peat soils.