The researchers intended to measure gas fluxes using the so-called snow gradient method last winter, but in the absence of snow, they had to use chambers, which is considerably more laborious in winter than it is in summer.
“In the chamber systems, water is used to seal the chamber to be gas-tight. This is done with a ‘collar’ installed in the ground. The water freezes in the cold, of course, so the frozen water must first be chipped out of the grooves of the collars, with warm water poured in its place. Fortunately we did not have many degrees of frost”, Maljanen thinks back.
“The dry summer of 2019 also affected the results. Especially the emissions of nitrous oxide were significantly lower than normal, or the corresponding emissions previously measured from the same field. As a greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide is about 300 times stronger than carbon dioxide.”
“It is difficult to estimate how the dryness affected the carbon balance, but it is precisely because of these varying conditions that two years is a really short examination period”, Maljanen says.
“The measurements will be continued until the end of the growing season, with the results calculated thereafter. We believe that we have a good chance of receiving further funding for the project to cover the entire grass crop rotation.”
“To date, our study has involved postdoctoral researchers, interns and those writing their doctoral dissertations working remotely, in the field and in the laboratory. I myself am working more in the laboratory than in the field this summer, even though I would gladly participate more in the field work as well”, she says.