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Simulation of Exterior Conditions in Permanently Closed Soil Chambers by Controlling Air Flow, Soil Water Content, and Temperature

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Volatile substances and gases resulting e.g. from degradation processes of chemicals in soils emit into the atmosphere and no chemical mass balance is complete without considering this path. Closed soil chambers allow the evaluation of this transfer to the atmosphere. This study deals with the influence of soil chambers with a glass plate cover on physical soil conditions in the chambers and the possibility to simulate the exterior conditions within the chambers. The water content immediately at the soil surface is an important factor for the microbial activity and the transfer of gaseous compounds to the atmosphere as well. It is monitored by specially designed water content sensors in 1 cm depth in the chamber and as control outside. Funnels with a cross section equal to the soil surface area of the chamber collect the rain water and channel it into the soil chamber. This results in soil water content in the chambers very similar to that outside. For the purpose of analysing 14CO2 and volatile 14C-compounds, air is permanently pumped through the chamber. In order to simulate natural conditions, the wind speed is measured 1 cm above the soil surface outside the chambers. A control circuit adjusts the air flow through the chamber to a value corresponding to the wind speed outside. Temperature measurements in 1 cm depth verify that there is no significant difference between the soil chamber and the control outside.

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Correspondence to Bernhard Ruth.

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Ruth, B., Grundmann, S. & Schroll, R. Simulation of Exterior Conditions in Permanently Closed Soil Chambers by Controlling Air Flow, Soil Water Content, and Temperature. Water Air Soil Pollut: Focus 8, 243–250 (2008).

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  • Soil chambers
  • Soil surface
  • Temperature
  • Top soil
  • Water content
  • Wind speed
  • Air flow
  • Lysimeter