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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - Wetland Soils

Uncertainty in Peat Volume and Soil Carbon Estimated Using Ground-Penetrating Radar and Probing


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 76 No. 5, p. 1911-1918
    Received: Feb 1, 2012
    Published: September 12, 2012

    * Corresponding author(s): parsekia@stanford.edu
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  1. Andrew D. Parsekian *a,
  2. Lee Slaterb,
  3. Dimitrios Ntarlagiannisb,
  4. James Nolanb,
  5. Stephen D. Sebesteyenc,
  6. Randall K. Kolkac and
  7. Paul J. Hansond
  1. a Dep. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rutgers Univ. 101 Warren St. Newark, NJ 07103, currently at Dep. of Geophysics, Stanford Univ. Stanford, CA 94305
    b Dep. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rutgers Univ. 101 Warren St. Newark, NJ 07103
    c U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station, 1831 Hwy. 169 East Grand Rapids, MN 55744
    d Environmental Sciences Division Oak Ridge National Lab. Bethel Valley Rd., Bldg. 1062 Oak Ridge, TN 37831


Estimating soil C stock in a peatland is highly dependent on accurate measurement of the peat volume. In this study, we evaluated the uncertainty in calculations of peat volume using high-resolution data to resolve the three-dimensional structure of a peat basin based on both direct (push probes) and indirect geophysical (ground-penetrating radar) measurements. We compared volumetric estimates from both approaches, accounting for potential sources of error, with values from the literature. Approximate uncertainty of 14 to 23% was observed in the basin volume, and the total uncertainty roughly doubled when incorporating peat properties to derive the estimated C pool. Uncertainties in final C stock values are based on the uncertainty of the basin volumes and the variability in the peat properties and range between 31 and 38%. The results indicate that the well-established ground-penetrating radar technique that is scalable to larger peatlands can be used to obtain estimates of peat basin volumes at uncertainty levels similar to those for invasive direct probe surveys. This investigation demonstrated that ground-penetrating radar can quantify peat basin volumes at uniquely high spatial resolution without the need for extensive and invasive direct probing.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the Soil Science Society of America, Inc.