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Published September 15, 2002 | Published
Journal Article Open

Concentration and δD of molecular hydrogen in boreal forests: Ecosystem-scale systematics of atmospheric H_2


We examined the concentration and δD of atmospheric H2 in a boreal forest in interior Alaska to investigate the systematics of high latitude soil uptake at ecosystem scale. Samples collected during nighttime inversions exhibited vigorous H_2 uptake, with concentration negatively correlated with the concentration of CO_2 (−0.8 to −1.2 ppb H_2 per ppm CO_2) and negatively correlated with δD of H_2. We derived H_2 deposition rates of between 2 to 12 nmol m^(−2) s^(−1). These rates are comparable to those observed in lower latitude ecosystems. We also derive an average fractionation factor, α = D:H_(residual)/D:H_(consumed) = 0.94 ± 0.01 and suggestive evidence that α depends on forest maturity. Our results show that high northern latitude soils are a significant sink of molecular hydrogen indicating that the record of atmospheric H_2 may be sensitive to changes in climate and land use.

Additional Information

© 2002 American Geophysical Union. Received 13 March 2002; revised 15 June 2002; accepted 18 June 2002; published 27 September 2002. We gratefully acknowledge support from the Moore Foundation and from a Davidow Grant to Caltech's Global Environmental Science Program. JTR and JEF acknowledge support from NSF OPP 0097439.

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