The source strength of atmospheric trace gases from natural ecosystems must be quantified in order to assess the effect of such inputs on the background tropospheric chemistry. A static chamber technique and a gas exchange technique were used to determine the emissions of nitrous oxide from five sites within the Hudson Bay Lowland, as part of the Northern Wetland Study. Two mechanisms, one diffusive and the other episodic, were found likely to be responsible for the emissions of nitrous oxide, The annual diffusive flux ranged from −3.8 mg(N2O)/m2 in a treed bog to 7.9 mg(N2O)/m2 in an open fen. The addition of the episodic flux, increased this range to −2.1 mg(N2O)/m2 and 18.5 mg(N2O)/m2 respectively. These episodic emissions occurred in from 2.5% to 16.7% of the samples during the late summer peak emission period. Since the gas exchange rate could not detect the episodic emissions, it was found to be a poor method for water emission rate determination within the wetland. LANDSAT-Thermatic Mapper (TM) imagery was used to scale the emissions, from the chamber level to an integrated average over the entire Hudson Bay Lowland. The total emission rate of N2O from the Hudson Bay Lowland, was determined to be 1.2 Gg(N2O)/year, of which 80% was attributed to episodic emissions.
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