Methane emissions from a pristine southern African wetland

Helfter, Carole; Gondwe, Mangaliso; Mosie, Ineelo; Mfundisi, Kelebogile; Murray-Hudson, Mike; Mosimanyana, Edwin; Skiba, Ute ORCID: 2018 Methane emissions from a pristine southern African wetland. [Speech] In: AGU Fall Meeting 2018, Washington, D.C., 10-14 Dec 2018. (Unpublished)

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We present one year of continuous monitoring of methane emissions at two contrasting sites in the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in North-Western Botswana. The wetlands of the Okavango Delta are in pristine condition and can be separated into three categories: permanently flooded, seasonally flooded (3-6 months per year) and occasionally flooded (typically once per decade). We set up two eddy-covariance systems in August 2017, one at Guma Lagoon (18°57'53.01" S; 22°22'16.20" E) at the edge of an extensive papyrus bed in the permanently-flooded section of the delta, and the second one at Nxaraga on the SW edge of Chief’s Island (19°32'53'' S; 23°10'45'' E) in the seasonal floodplain. We also conduct monthly measurements of methane and carbon dioxide fluxes by using a clear dynamic chamber at Nxaraga along transects chosen to span the natural soil moisture gradient (very dry to waterlogged soils). We observed contrasting spatial and temporal patterns of methane emissions between the sites as well as significant differences in emission intensities. Methane hotspots were observed in the Guma Lagoon papyrus swamp whereas fluxes at Nxaraga increased gradually with distance into the floodplain, which correlates with the spatial gradient of soil moisture in the seasonal floodplain. The differences observed at the two measurement sites suggest different controls, with soil moisture likely to be the dominant one at the seasonal floodplain. In contrast, we expect the emissions from the permanent wetland to be driven by a complex set of mechanisms, which could include plant-mediated transport, diffusion at the water-air interface, bubbling and convective flow within the water column.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Speech)
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects (Science Area 2017-)
NORA Subject Terms: Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 19 Dec 2018 16:39 +0 (UTC)

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