Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Understand distribution of carbon dioxide to interpret crop growth data: Australian grains free-air carbon dioxide enrichment experiment

Mahabubur Mollah A C , Debra Partington B and Genn Fitzgerald A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Primary Industries – Horsham, 110 Natimuk Road, Horsham, Vic. 3401, Australia.

B Department of Primary Industries – Hamilton, 915 Napier Road, Hamilton, Vic. 3300, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: Mahabubur.Mollah@dpi.vic.gov.au

Crop and Pasture Science 62(10) 883-891 https://doi.org/10.1071/CP11178
Submitted: 13 July 2011  Accepted: 4 October 2011   Published: 6 December 2011

Abstract

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important greenhouse gas, predicted to increase globally from currently 386 to 550 μmol mol–1 by 2050 and cause significant stimulation to plant growth. Consequently, in 2007 and 2008, Australian grains free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (AGFACE) facilities were established at Horsham (36°45′07″S lat., 142°06′52″E long., 127 m elevation) and Walpeup (35°07′20″S lat., 142°00′18″E long., 103 m elevation) in Victoria, Australia to investigate the effects of elevated CO2, water supply and nitrogen fertiliser on crop growth. Understanding the distribution patterns of CO2 inside AGFACE rings is crucial for the interpretation of the crop growth data. In the AGFACE system, the engineering performance goal was set as having at least 80% of the ring area with a CO2 concentration [CO2] at or above 90% of the target concentration at the ring-centre for 80% of the time. The [CO2] was highly variable near the ring-edge where CO2 is emitted and declined non-linearly with the distance downwind and wind speeds. Larger rings maintained the target [CO2] of 550 μmol mol–1 at the ring-centres better than the smaller rings. The spatial variation of [CO2] depended on ring size and the gap between fumigation and canopy heights but not on wind speeds. The variations in the inner 80% of the rings were found to be higher in smaller rings, implying that the larger rings had more areas of relatively uniform [CO2] to conduct experiments.

Additional keywords: AGFACE, FACE, spatial variation, Australia.


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