Quantification and upscaling of greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes from shallow waters, soils and trees in rural SE England.

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Holloway University of London
Department Name: Earth Sciences


Scientific background
The race toward net zero is hampered by poor understanding of many greenhouse gas sources and their emissions, and how to scale these up spatially and temporally. Uncertainties in global atmospheric carbon budgets arise mostly from natural sources (e.g. wetlands). Emissions are influenced by seasonal temperature and rainfall variability and anthropogenic changes in drainage, flooding and vegetation. Ratios of 13C/12C and 2H/1H help identify sources of CH4 emissions and transport pathways from subsurface to atmosphere.
This studentship seeks to (i) quantify CH4 and CO2 fluxes from a range of landscapes and shallow water bodies, (ii) elucidate environmental factors that impact fluxes, (iii) characterise the isotopic composition of CH4 emissions, and (iv), enhance the use of atmospheric measurements to verify UK GHG emissions inventories.
Project outcomes will inform landscape/environmental management decisions that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Research methodology
Field studies will be conducted at RBG Kew's site at Wakehurst, the Straits Inclosure at Forest Research and at wetland regions across SE England. These will provide unique opportunities to quantify GHG fluxes and elucidate source-sink processes for different types of soils, trees and surface-waters.
RHUL's state-ot-the-art vehicle-mounted and portable laser spectrometer systems, automated closed chambers and eddy covariance will measure CH4 and CO2 fluxes across different landscapes, with underlying drivers identified using RBG's new wireless network of meteorological and soil sensors at Wakehurst.
Isotope ratio mass spectrometry will be used to measure 13C and D in samples for comparison with mobile data (see https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/research-and-teaching/departments-and-schools/earth-sciences/research/research-laboratories/greenhouse-gas-laboratory/). Numerical and/or process-based models will utilise measured fluxes, climatic and soil data to extrapolate to regional landscapes, and make predictions for future emission scenarios and their likely role in climate change.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S007334/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2027
2781336 Studentship NE/S007334/1 01/10/2022 31/03/2026 Stephanie Batten