Peat gases publications in date order, oldest first


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In retrospect this work was pivotal in my interests. As a result of my work on Sphagnum growth I got an IBP (International Biological Programme) grant to make measurements of Sphagnum produtivity to incorpoate in a carbon balance sheet for the blanket bog at Moor House. Jim Reddaway, who did the routine work, found it unchallenging so, because I had wondered how large a proportion of what had been sequesterd as peat was lost as gases, I suggested that we measure the efflux of CO2 and CH4. Later, this led me to consider the rate of peat accumulation, and even later to how gases were generated and moved in peat. The development order was: Sphagnum ==> peat gases ==> peat accumulation, though the work (mostly) followed the order Sphagnum ==> peat accumulation ==> peat gases]

The main results were that CO2 effluxes were larger than and less variable than those of CH4; that the largets rffluxes of CO2 were from hummocks while the largest effluxes of CH4 were from pools; and that effluxes of CH4 from pools were particularly erratic. The mean values for pools, lawns, and hummocks are close to median for the huge (millions) of much better measurements that have now been made.

[Bibliographic Note. This article contains the first measurements of CO2 and CH4 efflux from a peatland, and may therefore be of some historic interest. The editor simply cut sections out without any changes to what was left. This mangled version is therefore unintelligible in places. The full, and lightly revised, version is in (13) below]

Black X icon Acrobat icon (12) Clymo RS, Reddaway EJF(1971). Productivity of Sphagnum (bog-moss) and peat accumulation. Hidrobiologia 12: 181-192.

Corrected and extended version of (12) above.

Pink X icon Acrobat icon (13) Clymo RS, Reddaway EJF (1972). A tentative dry-matter balance sheet for the wet blanket bog on Burnt Hill, Moor House N.N.R. Aspects of the Ecology of the Northern Pennines, Occasional Papers No. 3, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology: 15.

Report of a government working party in which representatives of various sources produced estimates of what their source efflux is. some sources were diffuse and difficult to estimate; others were closer to point sources and should have been much easier to estimate. We were brought in part way through to say what natural effluxes of methane might be, for comparison with coal mines, oil platform flares, gas distribution, agriculture, and waste disposal. Illuminating to see one group trying to maximise their contribution while others did what they copuld to minimise theirs.

Pink X icon Acrobat icon (48) Clymo RS, Hargreaves K (1994). Methane emissions from UK agriculture, Forests, wetlands and wastes:natural wetlands. Watt Committee Report Number 28: Methane Emissions. Ed Williams A London, Watt Committee on Energy: 111-121.

Notable for the first use of quadrupole mass spectrometry out on the bog surface. Risky, but it worked. Used for measuring in real time the concentrations of CH4, CO2, and other gases such as N2, Ar, and O2 deep in the peat, near surface peat, and effluxes to air. The article was part of a Royal Society meeting on Exchange of Trace Gases between Land and Atmosphere.

Green X icon Acrobat icon (52) Clymo RS, Pearce DME (1995). Methane and carbon dioxide production in, transport through, and efflux from a peatland. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A 350: 249-259.

Cores 30 cm diameter by 30+ cm deep kept at differing temperatures. Another batch of the same cores were measured at ITE Bush Estate and gave an almost identical exponential response to temperature. Part of the NERC TIGER (Terrestrial Initiative in Global Environmental Research) programme. Several interesting shotgun marriages were made between different disciplines and betweem University and NERC Institute groups. On the whole these were succesful.

Green X icon Acrobat icon (58) Daulat, WE, Clymo RS (1998). Effects of temperature and watertable on the efflux of methane from peatland surface cores. Atmospheric Environment 32: 3207-3218.

Part of the same TIGER programme as (58). My contribution to this article was minor, but everyone who had the slightest part in the work was listed as an 'author'. Different culture.

Black G icon mail to (59) Stephen KD, Arah JRM, et al. (1998). Root-mediated gas transport in peat determined by argon diffusion. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 30: 501-508.

The first, and still I think the only, direct demonstration of methane oxidation as CO2 passes up through the porous surface layer of a core from a peatbog. Needed a rather good mass spectrometer, courtesy of the Chemistry Department.

Green X icon Acrobat icon (63) Pearce DME, Clymo RS (2001). Methane oxidation in a peatland core. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 15: 709-720.

I did the field sampling and model writing, CB did the lab work. The results were exceptionally clear and illuminating.

Green G icon Acrobat icon (65) Clymo RS, Bryant CL (2008). Diffusion and mass flow of dissolved carbon dioxide, methane, and dissolved organic carbon in a 7-m deep raised bog. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 72: 2048-2066.

(66) The mathematical analysis on which the model in (65) was based. Nowadays many such problems can be solved by computer simulation, but for the work in (65) that was much too slow: an analytical solution was needed. MMRW normally works on problems arising in the nuclear power industry, and thus had the mathematical expertise I lacked. Shows the unexpected effectiveness of diffusion in removing gaseous products of decay in deep peat -- provided the process is allowed millennia.

Green X icon Acrobat icon (66) Clymo RS, Williams MMR (2012) Diffusion of gases dissolved in peat pore water. Mires and Peat 10(6): 1-10.

(69) Most of the other work on gas bubbles in peats finds quite a lot. Radar images are probably the most extensive. There is also some confusion with gas bubbles in and just below theacrotelm. This article finds rather little -- possibly none -- in deep peat sin the oceanic climate of northern England and southern Scotland.With climate records it leads to the suggestion that it is the mild climate (compared with most other sites where measurements have been made) that allows most of the peat gases to remain in solution.

Pink G icon Acrobat icon (69) Clymo RS (2015) Why are there few gas bubbles in deep peat in British raised and blanket peat bogs? Mires and Peat 16(5) 1-20

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