Publication details

Carbon dioxide seasonality in dynamically ventilated caves: the role of advective fluxes



Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Theoretical and Applied Climatology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Geology and mineralogy
Keywords advective flux from soil/epikarst; dynamic cave model; cave air CO2 level sesonality; cave ventilation mode
Description The seasonality in cave CO2 levels was studied based on (i) a new data set from the dynamically ventilated Comblain-au-Pont Cave (Dinant Karst Basin, Belgium), (ii) archive data from Moravian Karst caves, and (iii) published data from caves worldwide. A simplified dynamic model was proposed for testing the effect of all conceivable CO2 fluxes on cave CO2 levels. Considering generally accepted fluxes, i.e., the direct diffusive flux from soils/epikarst, the indirect flux derived from dripwater degassing, and the input/output fluxes linked to cave ventilation, gives the cave CO2 level maxima of 1.9E-2 mol m-3 (i.e. 440 ppmv), which only slightly exceed external values. This indicates that an additional input CO2 flux is necessary for reaching usual cave CO2 level maxima. The modeling indicates that the additional flux could be a convective advective CO2 flux from soil/epikarst driven by airflow (cave ventilation) and enhanced soil/epikarstic CO2 concentrations. Such flux reaching up to 170 mol s-1 is capable of providing the cave CO2 level maxima up to 3E-2 mol m-3 (70,000 ppmv). This value corresponds to the maxima known from caves worldwide. Based on cave geometry, three types of dynamic caves were distinguished: (i) the caves with the advective CO2 flux from soil/epikarst at downward airflow ventilation mode, (ii) the caves with the advective soil/epikarstic flux at upward airflow ventilation mode, and (iii) the caves without any soil/epikarstic advective flux. In addition to CO2 seasonality, the model explains both the short-term and seasonal variations in D13C in cave air CO2.

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