Le but de la présente étude était d'étudier l'impact de la variation des niveaux d'eau d'un marais d'eau douce (Baie Saint-François, Québec) sur l'évolution des concentrations et des flux d'hydrogène, monoxyde de carbone, méthane et dioxyde de carbone. Une approche originale impliquant l'association d'un gradient de concentration de ces composés sur un profil vertical de 1,5 m au transfert de flux turbulent micrométéorologique fut utilisée pour la détermination des flux. L'étude démontre qu'une hausse du niveau d'eau d'un bassin versant alimentant une zone humide influence les flux de méthane, de monoxyde de carbone d'hydrogène et de dioxyde de carbone. En conditions submergées, le marais émettait du méthane et du monoxyde de carbone et consommait moins d'hydrogène troposphérique. Ainsi, cette étude démontre que des mesures in situ peuvent servir à inférer des scénarios d'impacts possibles des changements climatiques et des variations des niveaux d'eau sur les émissions des gaz à effets de serre dans l'écosystème du fleuve Saint-Laurent.
- monoxyde de carbone,
- dioxyde de carbone,
Wetlands are known for their great biodiversity and the important carbon reservoir that they represent. Moreover, in the global warming context, these ecosystems represent net sources or sinks for different greenhouse gases depending of their conditions. For instance, flooded conditions favour methane production whereas they prevent hydrogen and carbon monoxide soil consumption. Baie Saint-François is a freshwater wetland that opens onto Lake Saint-Pierre (St. Lawrence River) where water levels are subject to important fluctuations due to natural processes and human activities (hydroelectricity and navigation). This study was done in order to assess the impact of the Lake Saint-Pierre water level variations on the tropospheric methane, carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide dynamics over the wetland. Knowledge of these dynamics should provide indications about the possible effects of the decreasing or increasing water level associated with the global warming on the production or consumption of these trace gases.
Studies were carried out between June and August 2003 in Baie Saint-François where soil was subjected to successions of flooded and dry conditions. Water and carbon dioxide fluxes were obtained with a Bowen ratio micrometeorological station including a high frequency single infrared gas analyser. Hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane fluxes were estimated with the modified Bowen method, their vertical concentration gradients (1.5 m) were measured over the plant canopy. The Bowen Ratio station was equipped with different probes to measure parameters such as net radiations, soil heat fluxes and vertical temperature gradients. The turbulent transfer coefficient (k) obtained every 20 min was assumed equal for heat, water vapour and trace gases. Hence, fluxes calculations were done by the multiplication of the turbulent transfer coefficients with the vertical concentration gradients of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane.
The instrument used to detect hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane was a RGA5. This analyser has two detectors: the reductive gas detector (RGD) for hydrogen and carbon monoxide and a flame ionisation detector (FID) for methane. The RGD contains an HgO bed wherein oxygen reacts with reductive gases resulting in Hg° releases detectable by differential UV absorbance. Chemicals were detected continuously in 10 min cycles with an analytical reproducibility of ±0.2, 0.3 and 2% for hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane. Generally, vertical concentration gradients measured were greater than these limits. A calibration gas containing hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane at 4940, 1000 and 1000 ppbv respectively in nitrogen was analysed daily to verify calibration. To ensure data integrity, linearity of the instrument was assayed by several dilutions of the standard gas and the integration of the curves gave a correction factor for hydrogen (18%) and carbon monoxide (13%). An intercomparison with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) was done to corroborate these correction factors.
Background carbon monoxide, methane and carbon dioxide levels were in agreement with literature values. However, hydrogen was low, as observed by other investigators in summertime, since this season is related to minimal concentrations. Methane followed a diurnal cycle where maximum levels were observed during nighttime. In wet conditions, these nocturnal peaks reached occasionally 4000 ppbv and could be explained by specific production mechanisms and diurnal changes of vertical mixing in the boundary layer. Sensitivity of the processes responsible for methane and carbon monoxide cycling was seen between July 21st and 26th where a rain episode (total precipitation of 33.2 mm) increased their background concentrations. It seems that this precipitation was enough to favour methanogenesis and inhibit tropospheric CO and CH4 consumptions by a reduction of the diffusion of these chemicals into the soil.
Our results demonstrated that four to eleven days following a variation of the Lake Saint-Pierre water level, a change in the tropospheric hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane concentrations was observed. This lag might be explained by the distance between the lake and the research station (about 1.5 km) and the required time for the adaptation of soil microorganisms to the disruption of their environment. The concentration variations of these chemicals resulted from the inhibition of the processes responsible for their consumption or the activation of the processes accountable for their production.
In June, the wetland was flooded and the CO2 median flux was -56.5 g m-2 d-1. Fluxes increased significantly (Mann-Whitney, α=0.01) in July to 5.30 g m-2 d-1, possibly due to dry conditions. Indeed, absence of water favours the activity of soil aerobic microorganisms which might produce more carbon dioxide than the quantity used by plants during photosynthesis.
Methane was produced in June where the median flux was 54 mg m-2 d-1. These emissions were caused by the presence of water which maintained anaerobic conditions in the sediments, a suitable environment for methanogenic microorganisms. July was characterised by dry conditions, which generated aerobic environments in soils, an unfavourable microniche for methanogens. Therefore, methane median fluxes decreased significantly (Mann-Whitney, α=0.05) to 0.011 mg m-2 d-1 in July. In August, before the end of the investigation period, water levels had increased but methane fluxes were not significantly higher than in July. Moreover, in this period, methane concentrations tended to increase, showing that after an augmentation of the Lake Saint-Pierre water level, Baie Saint-François flooding area could represent a methane source.
During summer 2003, Baie Saint-François acted as a net source of carbon monoxide. In June, the median flux was 21 µg m-2 d-1 due to presence of water which inhibited consumption by soil. Emissions were significantly (Mann-Whitney, α=0.05) lower in July (15 µg m-2 d-1) due to the absence of water, which represented a suitable environment for microorganisms consuming tropospheric carbon monoxide. In August, the median carbon monoxide flux attained 65 µg m-2 d-1 due to an increase of the Lake Saint-Pierre water level. Net carbon monoxide emissions observed in wet and dry conditions might be due to the high organic content in soil and water in addition to the presence of plants since all of these are subjected to photooxidation, generating this pollutant. Therefore, an increase of the Lake Saint-Pierre water level is associated with an augmentation of tropospheric carbon monoxide due to the inhibition of the processes responsible of its consumption.
A decline in the water level might result in the activation of the soil microorganisms (or abiotic hydrogenases) able to consume tropospheric hydrogen. At the beginning of the campaign (June), the median hydrogen flux was weak (-1.37 g m-2 d-1) due to the presence of water. However, a net soil consumption was seen in July, where the median hydrogen flux decreased to -125 g m-2 d-1. The Lake Saint-Pierre water level increase observed in August was associated with a significant (Mann-Whitney, α=0.05) augmentation of the hydrogen median flux to 299 g m-2 d-1. Consequently, a rise in the Lake Saint-Pierre water levels induced an inhibition of the processes responsible of the tropospheric hydrogen consumption.
This study illustrated that the water level fluctuations of the Lake Saint-Pierre have an impact on the H2, CO, CH4 and CO2 dynamics over the surrounding wetlands. When the Lake Saint-Pierre water level decreased, the wetlands acted as a carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide source, but as a consumer of tropospheric hydrogen and a minor source of methane.
- carbon monoxide,
- carbon dioxide,
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