Environment - Carbon and climate


Climate change can have a significant impact on the amount of carbon stored in cropland soils around the nation, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Results published recently in Geophysical Research Letters show that about 5 percent of the 868 million tons of carbon sequestered from no-till cropping practices in the U.S. and Canada from 1981 to 2000 is due to changes in climate that occurred during this period. The effects of climate change on carbon storage vary from one region to another because of differences in soil properties, cropping practices and the influence of climate change on soil moisture and soil temperature. While carbon sequestration strategies like no-till are intended to reduce atmospheric CO2, future increases in CO2 will alter how much carbon can actually be sequestered. By integrating potential carbon sequestration dynamics into their new model, researchers can more accurately estimate where soil carbon sequestration may be increased or reduced because of climate change. Authors of the paper were Atul Jain and Xiaojuan Yang of Illinois and Tris West and Mac Post of ORNL's Environmental Sciences Division. The research was funded by DOE's Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

 -  Ron Walli,  865.576.0226,  November 14, 2005

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