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Farm-scale Methane Fluxes (FasMeF)

English title Farm-scale Methane Fluxes (FasMeF)
Applicant Eugster Werner
Number 129866
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Agrarwissenschaften ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.08.2010 - 31.10.2013
Approved amount 235'403.00
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Keywords (7)

methane fluxes; greenhouse gas budget; agricultural emissions; stable isotopes; Kyoto Protocol; Switzerland; Methane flux

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The release of the IPCC's Fourth Climate Assessment Report has once more drawn the public attention to the important role that agriculture plays in the global greenhouse gas budgets, namely in the case of CH4 and N2O. In Switzerland, 80.5% of all national CH4 emissions stem from the agricultural sector (year 2007 values). However, these numbers so far lack direct experimental validation in the field and are based on expert knowledge. We thus propose to investigate the CH4 emission processes leading to a clear increase in CH4 concentrations within the nocturnal atmospheric boundary layer. This project will thus aim at validating CH4 emissions at the farm scale as a first step towards a validation at the national scale.We hypothesize that the diurnal cycle in CH4 concentration is the combination of the local surface exchange of CH4 with oxidation by the soil if it is unsaturated or emissions from the soil if saturated, plus a much larger component attributable to emissions from cattle (ruminants).Our specific aim is to quantify CH4 emissions at the farm scale (0.5-5km2) of the ETH Research Station Chamau and relate this to estimates reported in the Swiss National Inventory Report under the Kyoto Protocol.We plan to employ a boundary-layer budgeting method (BLBM) by focusing on the nocturnal boundary layer conditions where steadily increasing CH4 concentrations can be observed during most of the nights. To achieve this, we need the following four components of our experiment:- Eddy covariance flux and concentration measurements to quantify the surface exchange of CH4 (soil production or consumption);- Vertical CH4 concentration profiles to know the vertical distribution of CH4 in the incompletely mixed stable nocturnal boundary layer (NBL), to determine the NBL height and its temporal evolution which are essential information required by the BLBM;- Spatial variation of near-surface CH4 concentrations to address the question how spatially representative our near-surface CH4 concentration measurements actually are.Measurements of stable isotopes, in particular d13C ratios in CH4 will provide additional information about the processes responsible for the CH4 fluxes obtained via the BLBM aproach.Our project will contribute to develop and test a potentially useful method for validating CH4 emissions at the farm scale and larger scales. This project will contribute to our scientific understanding by bridging the spatial and temporal gap in our efforts to quantify and validate CH4 emission estimates at the farm scale to regional scale.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
Validation of farm-scale methane emissions using nocturnal boundary layer budgets
Stieger Jacqueline, Bamberger Ines, Buchmann Nina, Eugster Werner (2015), Validation of farm-scale methane emissions using nocturnal boundary layer budgets, in Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 14055-14069.
Greenhouse gas budget (CO2, CH4 and N2O) of intensively managed grassland following restoration
Merbold L, Eugster W, Stieger J, Zahniser M, Nelson D, Buchmann N (2014), Greenhouse gas budget (CO2, CH4 and N2O) of intensively managed grassland following restoration, in Global Change Biology, 20, 1913-1928.
Spatial variability of methane: Attributing atmospheric concentrations to emissions
Bamberger I, Stieger J, Eugster W, Buchmann N (2014), Spatial variability of methane: Attributing atmospheric concentrations to emissions, in Environmental Pollution, 190, 65-74.
Contrasting response of grassland versus forest carbon and water fluxes to spring drought in Switzerland
Wolf Sebastian, Eugster Werner, Ammann Christof, Häni Matthias, Zielis Sebastian, Hiller Rebecca, Stieger Jacqueline, Imer Dennis, Merbold Lutz, Buchmann Nina (2013), Contrasting response of grassland versus forest carbon and water fluxes to spring drought in Switzerland, in Environmental Research Letters, 8, 035007.
Performance of a low-cost methane sensor for ambient concentration measurements in preliminary studies
Eugster Werner, Kling George W. (2012), Performance of a low-cost methane sensor for ambient concentration measurements in preliminary studies, in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 5, 1925-1934.
Methane emissions at farm and regional scales: origin, magnitude and spatio-temporal variability
Stieger Jacqueline V., Methane emissions at farm and regional scales: origin, magnitude and spatio-temporal variability, ETH Zurich, ETH Zurich.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
PSI Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
MetAir AG Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
GEIA 2012 Conference - Emissions to Address Science and Policy Needs Talk given at a conference Active participation (this was a workshop) 11.06.2012 Toulouse, France Stieger Jacqueline;
Climate change in the Pyrenees: vulnerability, impacts, mitigation and adaptation Talk given at a conference Mountains and climate change mitigation: managing ecosystems for carbon storage and conservation 05.06.2012 Barcelona, Spain Eugster Werner;
ESF Exploratory Workshop on Towards A Global Synthesis Of Methane Fluxes From Land Ecosystems Talk given at a conference State of the art of eddy covariance CH4 flux measurements 10.04.2012 Hamburg, Germany Eugster Werner;
TTorch summer school – Challenges in measurements of greenhouse gases and their interpretation Talk given at a conference FasMeF - Measuring Farm-Scale Methane Fluxes 27.09.2011 Hyytiälä, Finnland, Finland Stieger Jacqueline;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Empa Akademie, Tagung Klimarelevante Spurengase und Aerosole. Vortrag: Validierung von regionalen Methanemissionen in der Schweiz mit Flugzeug, Fesselballon und am Boden Talk 16.01.2015 Dübendorf, Switzerland Eugster Werner;
MethanausstossinderLandwirtschaftundanderswo. ETH Alumni GEP Baden Talk 10.09.2014 Baden, Switzerland Eugster Werner;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Jungforscher auf Methan-Jagd Fernsehen SF: Schweiz Aktuell Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2012
Media relations: print media, online media Ballon misst den Treibhaus-Effekt von Rindern ETH Life German-speaking Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media ETH misst Methan mit Fesselballon Schweizer Bauer German-speaking Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media ETH misst mit Ballon Methankonzentration BauernZeitung German-speaking Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media Forscher nehmen Kühe unter die Lupe Die Südostschweiz / Ausgabe Graubünden German-speaking Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media Fressen und Furzen St. Galler Tagblatt / Ausgabe St. Gallen+Gossau German-speaking Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media Messung der Methanemissionen aus der landwirtschaft: Was das rindvieh zum treibhauseffekt beiträgt SNF Info German-speaking Switzerland 2011
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Messung der Methanemissionen: Was das Rindvieh zum Treibhaus-Effekt beiträgt SNF Newsletter German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland 2011
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Methanaussstoss von Rindern soll genauer untersucht werden Schweizer Bauer Online German-speaking Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media Methan-Ausstoss der Rinder wird erforscht Appenzeller Volksfreund German-speaking Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media Methanausstoss von Rindern unter der Lupe Alttoggenburger / Toggenburger Volksblatt German-speaking Switzerland 2011
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Neues Messverfahren zum Methangas-Ausstoß top agrar online International 2011
Other activities SNF Bild der Forschung: Was das Rindvieh zum Treibhaus-Effekt beiträgt German-speaking Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media Was das Rindvieh zum Treibhaus-Effekt beiträgt SNF Bild der Forschung Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland 2011

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
136273 CarboCount CH: Quantifying greenhouse gas fluxes and their sensitivity to climate variations: A case study in Central Europe and Switzerland 01.01.2012 Sinergia

Abstract

1. Relevance:The release of the IPCC’s Fourth Climate Assessment Report has once more drawn the public attention to the important role that agriculture plays in the global greenhouse gas budgets, namely in the case of CH4 and N2O. In Switzerland, 80.5% of all national CH4 emissions stem from the agricultural sector (year 2007 values). However, these numbers so far lack direct experimental validation in the field and are based on expert knowledge. We thus propose to investigate the CH4 emission processes leading to a clear increase in CH4 concentrations within the nocturnal atmospheric boundary layer. The proposed project will thus aim at validating CH4 emissions at the farm scale as a first step towards a validation at the national scale. 2. Working Hypotheses:We hypothesize that the diurnal cycle in CH4 concentration is the combination of the local surface exchange of CH4 (measured by eddy covariance) with oxidation by the soil if it is unsaturated or emissions from the soil if saturated, plus a much larger component attributable to emissions from cattle (ruminants). 3. Specific Aim:Our specific aim is to quantify CH4 emissions at the farm scale (0.5- 5 km2) of the ETH Research Station Chamau and relate this to estimates reported in the Swiss National Inventory Report under the Kyoto Protocol.4. Experimental Design and Methods:We plan to employ a boundary-layer budgeting method (BLBM; Section 2.4.5) by focusing on the nocturnal boundary layer conditions where steadily increasing CH4 concentrations can be observed during most of the nights. To achieve this, we need the following four components of our experiment: A. Eddy covariance flux and concentration measurements to quantify the surface exchange of CH4 (soil production or consumption) (Section 2.4.1) B. Vertical CH4 concentration profiles to know the vertical distribution of CH4 in the incompletely mixed stable nocturnal boundary layer (NBL), to determine the NBL height and its temporal evolution which are essential information required by the BLBM (Section 2.4.2) C. Spatial variation of near-surface CH4 concentrations to address the question how spatially representative our near-surface CH4 concentration measurements actually are; for this we plan the use of a car to move a CH4 analyser along transects during daytime and nighttime, and a small aircraft to probe the lowest 50-3000 m during daytime (Section 2.4.3) D. Measurements of stable isotopes, in particular d13C ratios in CH4 will provide additional information about the processes responsible for the CH4 fluxes obtained via the BLBM aproach (Section 2.4.4) 5. Expected Value of the Proposed Project:Our project will contribute to develop and test a potentially useful method for validating CH4 emissions at the farm scale and larger scales. This project will contribute to our scientific understanding by bridging the spatial and temporal gap in our efforts to quantify and validate CH4 emission estimates at the farm scale to regional scale. And this project is expected to provide an essential basis for the developments of the European Integrative Carbon Observation System (ICOS).
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