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Emissions of N2O from soils during cycles of freezing and thawing and the effects of soil water, texture and duration of freezing


Eur. J. Soil Sci. 55:357-365 (2003).


Freezing and thawing influence many physical, chemical and biological processes in soils, including the production of trace gases. We studied the effects of freezing and thawing on three soils, one sandy, one silty and one loamy on the emissions of N2OandCO2. We also studied the effect of varying the water content, expressed as the percentage of the water-filled pore space (WFPS). Emissions of N2Oduring thawing decreased in the order 64% > 55% > 42% WFPS, which suggests that the retardation of the denitrification was more pronounced than the acceleration of the nitrification with increasing oxygen concentration in the soil. However, emissions of N2Oat 76% WFPS were less than at 55% WFPS, which might be caused by an increased ratio of N2 / N2Oin the very moist conditions. The emission ofCO2 was related to the soil water with the smallest emissions at 76% WFPS and largest at 42% WFPS. The emissions ofCO2 during thawing exceeded the initialCO2 emissions before soils were subjected to freezing, which suggests that the supply of nutrients was increased by freezing. Differences in soil texture had no marked effect on the N2Oemissions during thawing. The duration of freezing, however, did affect the emissions from all three soils. Freezing the soil for less than 1 day had negligible effects, but freezing for longer caused concomitant increases in emissions. Evidently the duration of freezing and soil water content have important effects on the emission of N2O, whereas the effects of texture in the range we studied were small.