Articles | Volume 18, issue 2
Research article
01 Feb 2018
Research article |  | 01 Feb 2018

Soil fluxes of carbonyl sulfide (COS), carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide in a boreal forest in southern Finland

Wu Sun, Linda M. J. Kooijmans, Kadmiel Maseyk, Huilin Chen, Ivan Mammarella, Timo Vesala, Janne Levula, Helmi Keskinen, and Ulli Seibt

Abstract. Soil is a major contributor to the biosphere–atmosphere exchange of carbonyl sulfide (COS) and carbon monoxide (CO). COS is a tracer with which to quantify terrestrial photosynthesis based on the coupled leaf uptake of COS and CO2, but such use requires separating soil COS flux, which is unrelated to photosynthesis, from ecosystem COS uptake. For CO, soil is a significant natural sink that influences the tropospheric CO budget. In the boreal forest, magnitudes and variabilities of soil COS and CO fluxes remain poorly understood. We measured hourly soil fluxes of COS, CO, and CO2 over the 2015 late growing season (July to November) in a Scots pine forest in Hyytiälä, Finland. The soil acted as a net sink of COS and CO, with average uptake rates around 3 pmol m−2 s−1 for COS and 1 nmol m−2 s−1 for CO. Soil respiration showed seasonal dynamics controlled by soil temperature, peaking at around 4 µmol m−2 s−1 in late August and September and dropping to 1–2 µmol m−2 s−1 in October. In contrast, seasonal variations of COS and CO fluxes were weak and mainly driven by soil moisture changes through diffusion limitation. COS and CO fluxes did not appear to respond to temperature variation, although they both correlated well with soil respiration in specific temperature bins. However, COS : CO2 and CO : CO2 flux ratios increased with temperature, suggesting possible shifts in active COS- and CO-consuming microbial groups. Our results show that soil COS and CO fluxes do not have strong variations over the late growing season in this boreal forest and can be represented with the fluxes during the photosynthetically most active period. Well-characterized and relatively invariant soil COS fluxes strengthen the case for using COS as a photosynthetic tracer in boreal forests.

Short summary
Most soils consume carbonyl sulfide (COS) and CO due to microbial uptake, but whether boreal forest soils act like this is uncertain. We measured growing season soil COS and CO fluxes in a Finnish pine forest. The soil behaved as a consistent and relatively invariant sink of COS and CO. Uptake rates of COS and CO decrease with soil moisture due to diffusion limitation and increase with respiration because of microbial control. Using COS to infer photosynthesis is not affected by soil COS flux.
Final-revised paper