Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sowing seeds with new agricultural carbon accounting tool

Date:
June 7, 2010
Source:
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Summary:
Carbon dioxide emissions from agricultural activity in the United States can now be tracked with unprecedented resolution, thanks to a recently developed carbon accounting tool.

Carbon dioxide emissions from agricultural activity in the United States can now be tracked with unprecedented resolution because of a method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Related Articles


A team led by Tristram West uses satellite remote sensing, computational resources and high-resolution national inventory datasets to pinpoint agricultural-based carbon emissions nationwide. The method, outlined in the journal Ecological Applications, provides a link between ground-based estimates and atmospheric measurements for any given agricultural point in the nation.

"This is a significant step toward compiling datasets and establishing a method useful for carbon accounting purposes," said West, a member of ORNL's Environmental Sciences Division.

"Until now, we have done project-level reporting and national-level reporting as two independent exercises," West said. "The first was for carbon credits while the second was for international reporting to the United Nations."

West noted that, with the current system, emissions from economic sectors are reported nationally as required under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Project-level emissions are monitored on a case-by-case basis under independent projects or regional programs.

Doing both -- project- and national-level reporting -- in a consistent manner will become increasingly important as the U.S. and other countries move forward with climate agreements and legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to West.

"If the U.S. enters into national or international agreements on emissions reductions, a consistent framework for monitoring and reporting net carbon dioxide emissions from the project to national levels will prove more effective and provide more accurate and consistent reporting than independent reporting processes," West said.

The ORNL method uses land cover data derived from NASA satellites to refine geospatial cropland carbon fluxes nationwide. Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture's cropland data layer enables field-scale delineation of specific crops and allows for refined estimates of carbon fluxes.

Ultimately, this effort provides estimates of net ecosystem exchange of carbon for any given agricultural point in the U.S. This information about carbon flux based on crop, soil and management practices gives a measure of the total vertical carbon flux, including fossil fuel emissions occurring on site.

The research effort also provides estimates of net ecosystem carbon balance, which includes all carbon sources and sinks associated with crop production in a defined area.

"This means that upstream emissions from fertilizer production, for example, are accounted for in the same place where the crop is produced," West said. "This method allows for an estimate of the total impact of changing cropland management on net CO2 emissions."

Cropland management has proved to be an important consideration. For example, researchers reported that reduced tillage practices from 1990 to 2004 resulted in a net emissions reduction of 8.8 million metric tons of CO2 from burning fossil fuels in the U.S.

West notes that this version of the carbon accounting framework can be improved by anticipated improvements in annual crop species-specific biomass and crop residue production.

Co-authors from ORNL are Craig Brandt, Latha Baskaran, Varaprasad Bandaru, Bai Yang, Gregg Marland and Wilfred Post. Other authors are from the University of Tennessee, the Department of Agriculture and Kansas State University.

This research was funded in part by the NASA Earth Sciences Division and the Department of Energy Biological and Environmental Research Program's Consortium for Carbon Sequestration in Terrestrial Ecosystems.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tristram O. West, Craig C. Brandt, Latha M. Baskaran, Chad M. Hellwinckel, Richard Mueller, Carl J. Bernacchi, Varaprasad Bandaru, Bai Yang, Bradly S. Wilson, Gregg Marland, Richard G. Nelson, Daniel G. De La Torre Ugarte, Wilfred M. Post. Cropland carbon fluxes in the United States: increasing geospatial resolution of inventory-based carbon accounting. Ecological Applications, 2010; 20 (4): 1074 DOI: 10.1890/08-2352.1

Cite This Page:

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Sowing seeds with new agricultural carbon accounting tool." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100602131436.htm>.
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (2010, June 7). Sowing seeds with new agricultural carbon accounting tool. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100602131436.htm
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Sowing seeds with new agricultural carbon accounting tool." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100602131436.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Latest Minivan Crash Tests Aren't Pretty

Latest Minivan Crash Tests Aren't Pretty

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Five minivans were put to the test in head-on crash simulations by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shape-Shifting Architecture That Responds to Heat

Shape-Shifting Architecture That Responds to Heat

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 19, 2014) Architectural research students in Barcelona showcase a prototype of a shape-shifting building which expands and contracts as heat is applied. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flying Aviation Expo 2014: A Weekend to Remember

Flying Aviation Expo 2014: A Weekend to Remember

Flying (Nov. 19, 2014) Get a taste of all the excitement at the first ever Flying Aviation Expo in Palm Springs, California. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins