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Carbon Sequestration

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Carbon Sequestration. Akilah Martin Fall 2005. Outline. Pre-Assessment Student learning goals Carbon Sequestration Background Century Model Overview What is Expected of Students Assignment/Scenario Example Simulation. Student Learning Goals. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
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Carbon Sequestration Akilah Martin Fall 2005
Page 1: Carbon Sequestration

Carbon Sequestration

Akilah MartinFall 2005

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Pre-Assessment Student learning goals Carbon Sequestration Background Century Model Overview What is Expected of Students Assignment/Scenario Example Simulation

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Student Learning GoalsThrough this project students will be able to:

(1) Understand the use of models in analyzing and predicting solutions to real-world, complex problems

(2) Understand carbon sequestration processes

(3) Correlate tillage practices, soil texture, weather, and cropping sequences with optimal carbon sequestration strategies

(4) Enhance student’s decision-making skills

(5) Be able to use the concepts, generate ideas and apply what was learned in their future environmental careers

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Defining Carbon Sequestration

Process of transforming carbon in the air (carbon dioxide or CO2) into soil carbon

Long-term storage of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere, underground, or the oceans so that the buildup of carbon dioxide (the principal greenhouse gas) concentration in the atmosphere will be reduced Removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere

into sinks (i.e. soil) is one way of addressing climate change

Reference: http://cdiac2.esd.ornl.gov/

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Carbon Facts

In the past 6060 years, the amount of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted to the atmosphere, primarily because of expanding use of fossil fuels for energy, has risen from pre-industrial levels of 280 parts per million to present levels of over 365 parts per million This increase has been implicated in a gradual increase in the

Earth’s temperature

In 1998, the US released 5.4 tonnes of carbon per capita, European countries averaged around 1.9 tonnes and Africa emitted 0.3 tonnes.

1 tonne = 1,000kg1 tonne = 1,000kg


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Carbon Storage Facts

Soils store about 3X as much carbon as does terrestrial vegetation

27% of this carbon is found in tundra and boreal forest ecosystems

The grassland region, which includes arid, transitional and sub-humid grassland, stores considerably less carbon than the more northern regions

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Carbon Facts

Plants and trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere by the process photosynthesis. 

Carbon is returned to the atmosphere through respiration of plants, microbes, and animals and by natural and human-induced disturbances, such as fire. 

Carbon is also released to the atmosphere as Carbon Dioxide (CO2) upon combustion of fossil fuels.


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Atmospheric Carbon

Atmospheric Carbon goes to: Oceans, soil, and plants

Atmospheric Carbon comes from: Burning fossil fuels, soil organic carbon

decomposition, and deforestation

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Global Warming

The Earth's surface temperature has risen by 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century, with accelerated warming during the past two decades.

Atmospheric greenhouse gases water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases Human activities

CO2 accounts for 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions

Reference: http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/climate.html

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Global Warming

Industrial revolution atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased

nearly 30% methane concentrations have more than doubled nitrous oxide concentrations have risen by about 15%

Enhanced the heat-trapping capability of the earth's atmosphere Sulfate aerosols cool the atmosphere by reflecting light back

into space Sulfates are short-lived in the atmosphere and vary


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Greenhouse EffectEmissions primarily of CO2 and methane


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Processes of the “Greenhouse Effect”

Source of Carbonhttp://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/C/CarbonCycle.html

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Greenhouse Gases Facts

Water vapor, nitrous oxide, methane, carbon dioxide, and ozone

Methane traps over 21 times more heat per molecule than carbon dioxide

Nitrous oxide absorbs 270 times more heat per molecule than carbon dioxide

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Impacts on Agriculture


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Carbon Sources and Sinks

Sources Sinks

Industry (air pollution)Human Activity (Farming)AutomobilesFossil Fuel Burning


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Reference: http://www.netl.doe.gov/coalpower/sequestration/

Potential Carbon Sinks

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Fossil Fuel Burning Emissions


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Sources/Sinks of C-sequestration

Reference: http://www.wri.org/wri/climate/carboncy.html

Excessive carbon in the atmosphere has been a major contributor to global warming

Atmospheric Carbon

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World Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Region2001-2025

(Million Metric Tons of Carbon Equivalent)

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Colorado State University Research Group Model used to analyze carbon sequestration

optimization Web enabled Linked to Purdue ITaP supercomputing facility Century Website


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About the Model….

Understanding of the biogeochemistry of Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Sulfur

Provide a tool for ecosystem analysis to test the consistency of data (i.e. soil carbon) and to

evaluate the effects of changes in management and climate on ecosystems

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Long-term and spatial dynamics of Carbon (C), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Sulfur (S) for different Plant-Soil Systems through an annual cycle to centuries and millennia

Features grassland systems agricultural crop systems forest systems savanna systems

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Scaling of Site Properties

We are defining the term “scale” in this project as the many combinations of climate, texture, tillage and crops

From location to location, site properties change Those site properties include

Tillage Soil texture Climate Crop

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ExpectationsAfter completion of assignment students are expected to:

Understand the concepts of carbon sequestration

Make decisions on carbon sequestration using the tools provided

State a hypothesis, test the hypothesis using the model and make decisions based on results