An improved method for measuring soil N2O fluxes using a quantum cascade laser with a dynamic chamber

N. J. Cowan*, D. Famulari, P. E. Levy, M. Anderson, M. J. Bell, Bob Rees, D. S. Reay, U. M. Skiba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A dynamic chamber method was developed to measure fluxes of N2O from soils with greater accuracy than previously possible, through the use of a quantum cascade laser (QCL). The dynamic method was compared with the conventional static chamber method, where samples are analysed subsequently on a gas chromatograph. Results suggest that the dynamic method is capable of measuring soil N2O fluxes with an uncertainty of typically less than 1–2 µg N2O-N m−2 hour−1 (0.24–0.48 g N2O-N ha−1 day−1), much less than the conventional static chamber method, because of the greater precision and temporal resolution of the QCL. The continuous record of N2O and CO2 concentration at 1 Hz during chamber closure provides an insight into the effects that enclosure time and the use of different regression methods may introduce when employed with static chamber systems similar in design. Results suggest that long enclosure times can contribute significantly to uncertainty in chamber flux measurements. Non-linear models are less influenced by effects of long enclosure time, but even these do not always adequately describe the observed concentrations when enclosure time exceeds 10 minutes, especially with large fluxes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643–652
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'An improved method for measuring soil N2O fluxes using a quantum cascade laser with a dynamic chamber'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this