EGU General Assembly 2020
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Detecting small scale spatial heterogeneity and short-term temporal variability of CO2 flux dynamics in agricultural used landscapes using a robotic chamber system

Shrijana Vaidya, Juergen Augustin, Michael Sommer, Marten Schmidt, Peter Rakowski, and Mathias Hoffmann
Shrijana Vaidya et al.
  • Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg, Germany (

­­­Improved agricultural practices sequestering additional atmospheric C within the soil are considered as one of the potential solution for mitigating global climate change. However, agricultural used landscapes are complex and their capacity to sequester additional atmospheric C might differ substantially in time and space. Hence, accurate and precise information on the complex spatio-temporal CO2 flux pattern is needed to evaluate the effects/benefits of new agricultural practices aiming towards increasing soil organic carbon.

To date, different approaches are used to measure and quantify CO2 flux dynamics of agricultural landscapes, such as e.g. eddy covariance, as well as manual and automatic chamber systems. However, all these methods fail to some extend in either accounting for small scale spatial heterogeneity (eddy covariance and automatic chambers) or short-term temporal variability (manual chambers). Although, automatic chambers are in principle capable to detect small-scale spatial differences of CO2 flux dynamics in a sufficient temporal resolution, these systems are usually limited to only a few spatial repetitions which is not sufficient to represent small scale soil heterogeneity such as present within the widespread hummocky ground moraine landscape of NE-Germany.

To overcome these challenges, we developed a novel robotic chamber system allowing to detect small-scale spatial heterogeneity and short-term temporal variability of CO2 (as well as CH4 and N2O) flux dynamics for a range of different fertilization and tillage management practices. The system is equipped with two canopy chambers, CR6 data logger, CDM-A116 analog multiplexer and multiple sensors to measure plant activity/biomass development in parallel. The measurements of the gaseous C exchange is performed by moving the system along the tracks with each chamber along one half of the gantry crane. Thus, each chamber measures 18 plots, out of 36 plots (2x3m; 12 per soil type) established in the study area.

Here, we present first CO2 flux measurement results (spring barley; 3 different soil types) using this novel system, to prove its overall accuracy and precision. Our results show clear small-scale/within field spatial pattern and short-term temporal dynamics regarding measured ecosystem respiration, net ecosystem exchange as well as derived gross primary productivity.

How to cite: Vaidya, S., Augustin, J., Sommer, M., Schmidt, M., Rakowski, P., and Hoffmann, M.: Detecting small scale spatial heterogeneity and short-term temporal variability of CO2 flux dynamics in agricultural used landscapes using a robotic chamber system , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-955,, 2019


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displays version 2 – uploaded on 17 Apr 2020
The previous version was a draft one. This is the current final version.
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-955, Chris McCloskey, 08 May 2020

    Very interesting work! I'm curious as to what the difference is between the red and green datapoints on the CO2 flux graph on slide 7?

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Shrijana Vaidya, 08 May 2020

      I just saw that we forgot to keep legend in slide 7. My mistake! Red dots are for measured Reco and Green dots are for measured NEE

    • AC2: Reply to CC1, Mathias Hoffmann, 08 May 2020

      Thanks for your comment. Red dots represent nighttime measurements of the net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE; which equals in the absence of light and thus photosynthesis ecosystem respiration (Reco)), while green dots refer to daytime NEE measurements (as the balance between daytime Reco and gross primary production (GPP)). Using the atmospheric sign convention in here, we can see clearly that, while we have small net emissions during nighttime (and also most of the measurment period due to crop sensescence and/or herbicide application), we do have a net uptake (depending from crop development) during daytime such as especially during the period of regermination of crops.

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