The greenhouse gas flux and potential global warming feedbacks of a northern macrotidal and microtidal salt marsh

Gail L. Chmura, Lisa Kellman, Glenn R. Guntenspergen

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34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Conversion of wetlands by drainage for agriculture or other anthropogenic activities could have a negative or positive feedback to global warming (GWF). We suggest that a major predictor of the GWF is salinity of the wetland soil (a proxy for available sulfate), a factor often ignored in other studies. We assess the radiative balance of two northern salt marshes with average soil salinities >20 ppt, but with high (macro-) and low (micro-) tidal amplitudes. The flux of greenhouse gases from soils at the end of the growing season averaged 485 ± 253 mg m-2 h-1, 13 ± 30 μg m -2 h-1, and 19 ± 58 μg m-2 h -1 in the microtidal marsh and 398 ± 201 mg m-2 h-1, 2 ± 26 μg m-2 h-1, and 35 ± 77 μg m-2 h-1 in the macrotidal marsh for CO2, N2O, and CH4, respectively. High rates of C sequestration mean that loss of these marshes would have a radiative balance of -981CO2 eq. m-2 yr-1 in the microtidal and -567CO2 eq. m-2 yr-1 in the macrotidal marsh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044016
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Methane
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Radiative forcing
  • Tidal marsh

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