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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Special Submissions

Effect of Sampling Frequency on Estimates of Cumulative Nitrous Oxide Emissions


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 37 No. 4, p. 1390-1395
    Received: June 20, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): tim.parkin@ars.usda.gov
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  1. Timothy B. Parkin *
  1. USDA-ARS, National Soil Tilth Lab., 2110 University Blvd., Ames, IA 50011


It is generally recognized that soil N2O emissions can exhibit pronounced day-to-day variations; however, measurements of soil N2O flux with soil chambers typically are done only at discrete points in time. This study evaluated the impact of sampling frequency on the precision of cumulative N2O flux estimates calculated from field measurements. Automated chambers were deployed in a corn/soybean field and used to measure soil N2O fluxes every 6 h from 25 Feb. 2006 through 11 Oct. 2006. The chambers were located in two positions relative to the fertilizer bands—directly over a band or between fertilizer bands. Sampling frequency effects on cumulative N2O–N flux estimation were assessed using a jackknife technique where populations of N2O fluxes were constructed from the average daily fluxes measured in each chamber. These test populations were generated by selecting measured flux values at regular time intervals ranging from 1 to 21 d. It was observed that as sampling interval increased from 7 to 21 d, variances associated with cumulative flux estimates increased. At relatively frequent sampling intensities (i.e., once every 3 d) N2O–N flux estimates were within ±10% of the expected value at both sampling positions. As the time interval between sampling was increased, the deviation in estimated cumulative N2O flux increased, such that sampling once every 21 d yielded estimates within +60% and −40% of the actual cumulative N2O flux. The variance of potential fluxes associated with the between-band positions was less than the over-band position, indicating that the underlying temporal variability impacts the efficacy of a given sampling protocol.

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Copyright © 2008. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyAmerican Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America