This work was supported by the Office of Science (BER), U.S. Department of Energy, grants DE-FG03-97ER62401 and DE-FG02-04ER63913. Additional support was provided by the resources of the Biospherics Research Corporation and the Andarz Co
Journal of Geophysical Research
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.
Khalil, M. A. K., M. J. Shearer, R. A. Rasmussen, C. Duan, and L. Ren (2008), Production, oxidation, and emissions of methane from rice fields in China, J. Geophys. Res., 113, G00A04.