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Journal of Geophysical Research

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Methane -- Environmental aspects, Rice farming -- Environmental aspects -- China, Air -- Pollution


Detailed field studies of methane emissions from rice fields show that when nitrogen fertilizers are used with intermittent irrigation the seasonal average flux is about 3 mg/m²/hr. When continuous flooding and organic material is added to the same fields, the emissions rise to nearly 30 mg/m²/hr. Production rates measured during the two years when both organic material and water were applied to these fields were found to be 60 and 90 mg/m²/hr in consecutive years. The fraction oxidized is calculated to be about 80% one year and 43% the next year. The results suggest that high organic fertilizer increases production, but may affect the emissions more by reducing oxidation. The data show that seasonally averaged emissions vary by up to factor of 2 among adjacent fields but the variability of production is only about 20%. Information obtained from the farmers suggests that there is a trend towards less use of organic manure as nitrogen fertilizers have become available and the occurrence of intermittent flooding has increased for various reasons. These conditions have likely led to decreasing emissions of methane from rice fields in China in the recent decades.


Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union. Can be found online at:



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