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Published July 25, 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Temperature and moisture dependence of soil H_2 uptake measured in the laboratory


The soil sink of molecular hydrogen is the largest and most uncertain term in the global atmospheric H_2 budget. Lack of information about the mechanisms regulating this sink limits our ability to predict how atmospheric H_2 may respond to future changes in climate or anthropogenic emissions. Here we present the results from a series of laboratory experiments designed to systematically evaluate and describe the temperature and soil moisture dependence of H_2 uptake by soils from boreal forest and desert ecosystems. We observed substantial H2 uptake between −4°C and 0°C, a broad temperature optimum between 20°C and 30°C, a soil moisture optimum at approximately 20% saturation, and inhibition of uptake at both low and high soil moisture. A sigmoidal function described the temperature response of H_2 uptake by soils between −15°C and 40°C. Based on our results, we present a framework for a model of the soil H_2 sink.

Additional Information

© 2006 American Geophysical Union. Received 28 April 2006; accepted 13 June 2006; published 25 July 2006. NSD thanks J. Leadbetter for lab and instrument use, K. Treseder for collecting soils in Alaska, X. Xu for assistance with the elemental analyzer, P. Ghosh, J. O'Leary, H. Afek and M. Child for help in the lab, and N. Downey. NSD received support from the NCER STAR program, EPA. JTR acknowledges support from UC Irvine's School of Physical Sciences Dean's Innovation Fund. This work was also supported by a generous gift from General Motors and William Davidow and family.

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