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Changes in the CO2 dynamics in near-surface cavities under a future warming scenario: Factors and evidence from the field and experimental findings

AuthorsPla, Concepción; Cuezva, Soledad ; García Antón, Elena ; Fernández Cortés, Ángel ; Cañaveras, Juan Carlos ; Sánchez Moral, Sergio ; Benavente, David
KeywordsCO2 future estimations
Underground cave
CO2 source
CO2 sink
CO2 redistribution
Issue Date15-Sep-2016
CitationScience of the Total Environment 565: 1151-1164 (2016)
AbstractThis study is based on field monitoring of a cave-soil-atmosphere system validated with laboratory experiments. CO and Rn dynamics in the cavity are dependent on climatic parameters, mainly on the differences between the outdoor and indoor temperature. The annual cycles in the cave are characterized by two outstanding phenomena: cave gas recharge and ventilation when the cave acts as a gas sink or source. A permanent relationship with soil above the cave exists. The soil temperature and moisture are responsible for CO production on various time scales. Soil CO at the Rull site reaches values higher than 3000 ppm in April–May, but falls to nearly 1000 ppm during the summer. Maximum CO values in the cave are reached in the warmest months and are in accordance with soil CO values. The maximum CO concentration in the cave is 3470 ppm on average, while the minimum is 623 ppm. To describe the field findings, CO production and diffusion experiments related to the soil behaviour were developed. The results show that the soil CO production increases as the soil temperature and moisture increase according to a calculated logarithmic equation until the soil water content exceeds the saturation value. The soil-produced CO reaches the Rull cave by diffusion, which in Rull soil is reduced to approximately 60% when the soil water content increased from 0 to 30%. We estimated that 57 kg of CO was emitted from the cave to the atmosphere in an annual cycle, considering a cave volume of 9915 m. Finally, projections of the future climate at the study site confirm a general tendency for annual-mean conditions to be warmer and drier, which will directly affect the soil CO production. In this situation, the Rull cave will experience changes in the stored and subsequently exchanged annual amount of CO.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.160
issn: 1879-1026
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