Greenhouse Gas Fluxes Over Cereal Cropping Systems in the Inland Pacific Northwest: Measurements to Support Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

EPA Grant Number: F13B20395

Title: Greenhouse Gas Fluxes Over Cereal Cropping Systems in the Inland Pacific Northwest: Measurements to Support Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
Investigators: Waldo, Sarah Rachel
Institution: Washington State University
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: August 15, 2014 through August 15, 2015
Project Amount: $84,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2013) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Environmental Science and Engineering , Academic Fellowships

Objective:

The objectives of this research are (1) to develop an optimal system for continuous, long-term, field-integrated NO monitoring; (2) to determine the balance of CO and NO fluxes at several sites and how these fluxes covary with site conditions; (3) to determine if certain management practices can be implemented to simultaneously reduce N2O emissions and increase carbon sequestration.

Approach:

A network of micrometeorological towers at five different sites across
the Inland Pacific Northwest measures fluxes of CO, water vapor and energy. This project has established collection, processing and quality control/quality assurance procedures for these data sets. The research will now focus on improving the monitoring of NO fluxes using the flux gradient technique, as well as relaxed eddy accumulation to complement measurements made with automated static chambers at two sites. These micrometeorological techniques are needed because they do not disturb the soil surface and because they take field-scale integrated measure- ments. The data sets will be analyzed for trends related to soil tempera- ture and moisture, fertilization and tillage type. The results from both the CO and NO monitoring will be used to evaluate a field-scale cropping systems model.

Expected Results:

The results from this research will provide a baseline of CO, NO and water vapor fluxes for wheat cropping systems in the Inland Pacific Northwest. Comparing results from sites with contrasting climates and management practices will give insight into how these variables affect the carbon, nitrogen and water cycles at agricultural sites. Specifically, comparing NO emissions at paired conventional-tillage and no-tillage fields will give growers more information to aid in their decision whether or not to switch to no-till.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection

Temperature and rainfall patterns in this region are projected to change in the coming decades, with potentially significant effects on crop yields and management practices. In addition, the demand for food is projected to keep increasing as population grows. Food productivity needs to be maintained or increased without increasing the greenhouse gas footprint of agriculture. Because of these factors there is a great need for empiri- cally based information on the carbon, nitrogen and water budgets of cropping systems.

Supplemental Keywords:

agriculture, greenhouse gasses, nitrous oxide

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final