Seasonal and diurnal variation in CO fluxes from an agricultural bioenergy crop
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an important reactive trace gas in the atmosphere, while its sources and sinks in the biosphere are poorly understood. Soils are generally considered as a sink of CO due to microbial oxidation processes, while emissions of CO have been reported from a wide range of soil–plant systems. We measured CO fluxes using the micrometeorological eddy covariance method from a bioenergy crop (reed canary grass) in eastern Finland from April to November 2011. Continuous flux measurements allowed us to assess the seasonal and diurnal variability and to compare the CO fluxes to simultaneously measured net ecosystem exchange of CO
2O and heat fluxes as well as to relevant meteorological, soil and plant variables in order to investigate factors driving the CO exchange.
The reed canary grass (RCG) crop was a net source of CO from mid-April to mid-June and a net sink throughout the rest of the measurement period from mid-June to November 2011, excluding a measurement break in July. CO fluxes had a distinct diurnal pattern with a net CO uptake in the night and a net CO emission during the daytime with a maximum emission at noon. This pattern was most pronounced in spring and early summer. During this period the most significant relationships were found between CO fluxes and global radiation, net radiation, sensible heat flux, soil heat flux, relative humidity, N 2O flux and net ecosystem exchange. The strong positive correlation between CO fluxes and radiation suggests abiotic CO production processes, whereas the relationship between CO fluxes and net ecosystem exchange of CO 2, and night-time CO fluxes and N 2O emissions indicate biotic CO formation and microbial CO uptake respectively. The study shows a clear need for detailed process studies accompanied by continuous flux measurements of CO exchange to improve the understanding of the processes associated with CO exchange.