Plant and Soil

, Volume 343, Issue 1, pp 171–185

Assessing the effects of chamber placement, manual sampling and headspace mixing on CH4 fluxes in a laboratory experiment

  • Jesper Riis Christiansen
  • Janne F. J. Korhonen
  • Radoslaw Juszczak
  • Michael Giebels
  • Mari Pihlatie
Regular Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-010-0701-y

Cite this article as:
Christiansen, J.R., Korhonen, J.F.J., Juszczak, R. et al. Plant Soil (2011) 343: 171. doi:10.1007/s11104-010-0701-y


A laboratory experiment was conducted with two types of closed static chambers to estimate the effects of chamber placement, manual headspace sampling and headspace mixing on methane (CH4) fluxes. Chamber fluxes were compared to a known reference flux in a chamber calibration system. The measurements were conducted with three types of soils (coarse dry, fine dry and fine wet quarts sand) at five flux levels ranging from 60 to 2000 μg CH4 m−2 h−1. We found that the placement of a non-vented chamber disturbed the initial CH4 concentration development within the chamber headspace for 10 to 30 s. Excluding this short period from the flux calculation resulted in a lower flux estimate (mean±SE) of 126 ± 26 μg CH4 m−2 h−1 compared to 134 ± 26 μg CH4 m−2 h−1 if data from time zero of the enclosure were included. We also found that in non-mixed chambers (no fan mixing) the gas sampling by syringes or gas bottles disturbed the development of CH4 concentration during the enclosure. Furthermore, flux estimates in non-mixed chambers were significantly underestimated (on average 36%) compared to the measured reference fluxes. However, the use of fans to constantly mix the chamber headspace during enclosure significantly improved the goodness-of-fit of the regression analysis used to calculate the flux and further eliminated the disturbance of the manual sampling on the concentration development. We recommend that chambers should be vented during the placement of the chamber, and that fans are used as an integrated part of static chambers while headspace mixing with syringes should be avoided.


MethaneClosed static chamberGreenhouse gasHeadspace mixingFansManual sampling



Carbon dioxide


Flux level


Greenhouse gas




Nitrous oxide


Normalised root mean square error


Root mean square error

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesper Riis Christiansen
    • 1
  • Janne F. J. Korhonen
    • 2
  • Radoslaw Juszczak
    • 3
  • Michael Giebels
    • 4
  • Mari Pihlatie
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Forest & Landscape Ecology, Forest & Landscape DenmarkUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksberg CDenmark
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Meteorology DepartmentPoznan University of Life SciencesPoznanPoland
  4. 4.Institute of Landscape Matter DynamicsLeibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape ResearchMünchebergGermany
  5. 5.Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)Garmisch-PartenkirchenGermany