Simulating methane emission from a Chinese rice field as influenced by fertilizer and water level

Z. Yu, X. Shangguan, D. Pollard, E. J. Barron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Natural and agricultural wetlands are considered to be the major sources of global atmospheric methane (CH4). A one-dimensional model was developed to simulate methane emission and used to examine the influence of various physical processes on the rate of methane emission. Three processes involved in the methane emission are implemented in the model: production, reoxidation and transport. Three transport pathways were considered: diffusion across water-air or soil-air interfaces, ebullition and diffusion through plants. These pathways are influenced by soil properties, plant growth, water-table conditions, temperature and external inputs (e.g. fertilizer). The model was used to examine the seasonal variation of the methane emission at a rice field in Hunan, China, which was observed during a field experiment for consecutive (early and late) rice seasons in 1992. The observed seasonal variations of methane emission, and role of plants in transporting methane to the atmosphere, are captured by the model simulation. Further model applications were conducted to simulate effects of fertilizer and water-level condition on the methane emission. The results indicate that unfermented organic fertilizer produces a higher methane emission rate than mineral fertilizer. The simulations with treatments of a deep-water covering and constant moisture reduced the methane emission. The rice field study provides a framework for further development of the model towards simulations based on spatially distributed variables (e.g. water table, soil temperature and vegetation at a regional scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3485-3501
Number of pages17
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number17
StatePublished - Dec 15 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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