Measurement-based studies on greenhouse gases in nature and in the industrial sector in Canada

Vogt, Judith (2023) Measurement-based studies on greenhouse gases in nature and in the industrial sector in Canada. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Persistent emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases are causing the Earth to warm at an increasingly fast pace. Nitrous oxide (N₂O) and methane (CH₄) are two well-mixed greenhouse gases with high global warming potential. This thesis investigates both the impacts provoked by human-induced climatic disturbances on natural ecosystems, and anthropogenic emissions from the industrial and agricultural sectors, the root cause of global warming. Results show that peatland disturbance in eastern Canada did not alter emissions of N₂O despite distinct features of the studied sites located in Newfoundland, Canada. Even though a combination of land-use change did not increase N₂O emissions, the degradation of peatlands may intensify the emission of other greenhouse gases, especially of carbon compounds. The Arctic Ocean constitutes a negligible source of CH₄ to the atmosphere but warming temperatures may increase emissions. During a measurement cruise off the coast of north-eastern Canada, low sea-air CH₄ fluxes and super-saturated CH₄ concentrations within the water column originating from persistent seeps were found. The ocean is another ecosystem that naturally exchanges greenhouse gases with the atmosphere. The investigation of CH₄ emissions from the oil and gas industry in different regions of western Canada revealed several “super-emitters”, and overall significant contributions of suspended and abandoned sites to emissions. Compared to previous studies, oil and gas-related emissions decreased in recent years, possibly in response to federal regulations and the transition towards net-zero emissions. Lastly, in a regional cross-sectoral study in Canada’s west, CH₄ emissions from livestock and waste significantly contributed to total regional emissions dominated by oil and gas. The emissions from agriculture were comparable with those from oil and gas production, and results suggested high emissions from a landfill. This thesis provides insight into greenhouse gas exchange processes in vulnerable natural ecosystems and advances the knowledge about anthropogenic emission patterns from various sectors targeted under the Emissions Reduction Plan in Canada. To limit global warming in the future, continued measurements of greenhouse gases are crucial for adequate emission management and mitigation. The findings of this thesis contribute to a better understanding of recent emissions in nature and the industrial sector.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 16296
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 124-140)
Keywords: peatland, emission monitoring, industry, ocean, net zero target, Arctic, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Environmental Science
Date: June 2023
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Greenhouse gases--Canada; Global warming--Canada; Peatlands--Newfoundland and Labrador; Continuous emission monitoring--Canada; Greenhouse gas mitigation--Canada; Climatic changes—Effect of human beings on--Canada; Industries--Environmental aspects--Canada

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