Spatial and temporal variations of nitrous oxide flux between coastal marsh and the atmosphere in the Yellow River estuary of China

Sun, Zhigao; Wang, Lingling; Mou, Xiaojie; Jiang, Huanhuan; Sun, Wanlong
January 2014
Environmental Science & Pollution Research;Jan2014, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p419
Academic Journal
To investigate the spatial and seasonal variations of nitrous oxide (NO) fluxes and understand the key controlling factors, we explored NO fluxes and environmental variables in high marsh (HM), middle marsh (MM), low marsh (LM), and mudflat (MF) in the Yellow River estuary throughout a year. Fluxes of NO differed significantly between sampling periods as well as between sampling positions. During all times of day and the seasons measured, NO fluxes ranged from −0.0051 to 0.0805 mg NO m h, and high NO emissions occurred during spring (0.0278 mg NO m h) and winter (0.0139 mg NO m h) while low fluxes were observed during summer (0.0065 mg NO m h) and autumn (0.0060 mg NO m h). The annual average NO flux from the intertidal zone was 0.0117 mg NO m h, and the cumulative NO emission throughout a year was 113.03 mg NO m, indicating that coastal marsh acted as NO source. Over all seasons, NO fluxes from the four marshes were significantly different ( p < 0.05), in the order of HM (0.0256 ± 0.0040 mg NO m h) > MF (0.0107 ± 0.0027 mg NO m h) > LM (0.0073 ± 0.0020 mg NO m h) > MM (0.0026 ± 0.0011 mg NO m h). Temporal variations of NO emissions were related to the vegetations ( Suaeda salsa, Phragmites australis, and Tamarix chinensis) and the limited C and mineral N in soils during summer and autumn and the frequent freeze/thaw cycles in soils during spring and winter, while spatial variations were mainly affected by tidal fluctuation and plant composition at spatial scale. This study indicated the importance of seasonal NO contributions (particularly during non-growing season) to the estimation of local NO inventory, and highlighted both the large spatial variation of NO fluxes across the coastal marsh (CV = 158.31 %) and the potential effect of exogenous nitrogen loading to the Yellow River estuary on NO emission should be considered before the annual or local NO inventory was evaluated accurately.


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