Multiple season, field scale exploration of biogenic gas dynamics in two peat soils of the Florida Everglades using hydrogeophysics

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
William J Wright, Xavier Comas, Gregory J. Mount and Matthew D McClellan, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, United States
Peatlands are known to release significant amounts of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. However, uncertainties still remain regarding the spatio-temporal distribution and triggering mechanisms of gas releasing events from peat soils. Furthermore, most research regarding peatland gas dynamics has historically been focused on high latitude peatlands, while recent works have suggested gas production rates from low-latitude peat soils may be higher than those from colder climates. Varying temporal and spatial scales have also shown marked differences in flux rates, thus questioning the appropriate scale for gas flux quantification. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is a geophysical tool that has successfully been used in the past to non-invasively investigate the release of biogenic gasses from northern peat soils, and has only recently been used in the subtropical Florida Everglades. This study is based on an array of measurements at four field sites, spanning two different peat types (Loxahatchee and Everglades peats) of the Florida Everglades over a period of two years. At each site, gas contents within the soil are monitored using the GPR method, which is supported by direct gas flux measurements using flux chambers and time-lapse photography, and surface deformation is monitored using differential leveling. Resulting data highlight the variability of gas dynamics based on spatial, temporal, and soil compositional differences.