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In situ tropical peatland ire emission factors and their variability, as determined by field measurements in peninsula Malaysia

Smith, T. E. L. ORCID: 0000-0001-6022-5314, Evers, S., Yule, C. M. and Gan, J. Y. (2018) In situ tropical peatland ire emission factors and their variability, as determined by field measurements in peninsula Malaysia. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. ISSN 0886-6236

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Identification Number: 10.1002/2017GB005709


Fires in tropical peatlands account for >25% of estimated total greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation. Despite significant global and regional impacts, our understanding of specific gaseous fire emission factors (EFs) from tropical peat burning is limited to a handful of studies. Furthermore, there is substantial variability in EFs between sampled fires and/or studies. For example, methane EFs vary by 91% between studies. Here we present new fire EFs for the tropical peatland ecosystem; the first EFs measured for Malaysian peatlands, and only the second comprehensive study of EFs in this crucial environment. During August 2015 (under El Niño conditions) and July 2016, we embarked on field campaigns to measure gaseous emissions at multiple peatland fires burning on deforested land in Southeast Pahang (2015) and oil palm plantations in North Selangor (2016), Peninsula Malaysia. Gaseous emissions were measured using open-path Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The IR spectra were used to retrieve mole fractions of 12 different gases present within the smoke (including carbon dioxide and methane), and these measurements used to calculate EFs. Peat samples were taken at each burn site for physicochemical analysis and to explore possible relationships between specific physicochemical properties and fire EFs. Here we present the first evidence to indicate that substrate bulk density affects methane fire EFs reported here. This novel explanation of interplume, within-biome variability, should be considered by those undertaking greenhouse gas accounting and haze forecasting in this region and is of importance to peatland management, particularly with respect to artificial compaction.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 American Geophysical Union
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2018 14:14
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 16:03
Funders: Royal Geographical Society, King’s College London

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