Welcome to the Global Change Research Program: Predicting Interactive Effects of CO2, Temperature, and Other Environmental Factors on Agricultural Productivity
Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and several other radiactively active gases are increasing, and atmosphere-ocean general circulation models predict a consequent global warming. The future impacts of these global changes, especially those of the interactions of elevated CO2, temperature, and other environmental factors, on crop productivity, water use, and carbon sequestration are largely speculative. Strategies to maximize the benefits of global change while minimizing the detriments have not been well formulated. Providing robust recommendations to stakeholders will entail experimental characterization of such interactions under open-field conditions and improving plant growth models to better represent these interactions.
Therefore, the objectives of the USDA-ARS Arid Land Agricultural Research Center Global Change Research Program are the following:
Objective 1. Strengthen assessments of impacts of global change on crop production systems using models that better represent interactions of elevated CO2 and temperature believed largely to be mediated through the canopy energy balance.
Objective 2. Develop and evaluate approaches to include temperature effects in open-field plot research on global change.
2.1. Evaluate effectiveness and costs of different technological methods of applying manipulative temperature treatments to free-air plots at a specific location.
2.2. Appraise whether natural temperature variations due to season, elevation, and latitude can be utilized as well as technology from 2.1.
To meet these objectives, we are currently following two approaches.
1. Evaluation and improvement of Crop Growth Models
2. Evaluation and improvement of Infrared Heater Systems
However, we also continue to analyze samples and summarize data from the following noteworthy historical experiments.
3. Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) Project on cotton, wheat, and sorghum
4. Long-term Sour Orange Tree CO2 Enrichment Project in open-top chambers