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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Plant Physiology and Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #443513

Research Project: Improving, Evaluating, and Extending Satellite-Based High Resolution Cropland Carbon Monitoring System

Location: Plant Physiology and Genetics Research

Project Number: 2020-21600-001-007-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jun 30, 2023
End Date: Sep 30, 2024

The overall goals of the project are to improve the existing prototype Cropland Carbon Monitoring System (CCMS) framework using recent state-of-the-art satellite-based products (i.e. high resolution(1km) soil moisture product, spatially resolved tillage maps, and improved fertilizer database), and evaluate the performance of the improved framework using extensive field scale observations and measurements. Further, using improved system, we will extend the simulations to Canada along with conterminous U.S, including additional years (2017-2021), and other major cropping systems (i.e. spring wheat, rice, cotton and canola along with corn, soybean and winter wheat). We will also quantify the uncertainty in the simulated fluxes. Considering the fact that nitrous oxide (N2O) is a major greenhouse gas with significant global warming potential— approximately 300 times of CO2 on a mass basis (IPCC, 2006)—and agricultural systems represent a major global source of atmospheric N2O emissions, we will evaluate the performance of the CCMS framework to estimate the regional scale N2O fluxes under major cropping systems. Ultimately, the products developed under this project will advance the CO2 monitoring capability on croplands, and provide the improved knowledge base at required spatial and temporal scales to understand complex carbon (C) and nitrogen cycling outcomes under various land use and land management practices, and develop joint policies to meet objectives such as food and energy security while stabilizing atmospheric CO2. Further, the data product will help improve national inventories and CO2 budget reporting.

This project builds upon previous research efforts under NASA funded project, and it will focus on four major tasks. In task 1, we will improve existing Cropland Carbon Monitoring System (CCMS) by assimilating high resolution SMAP based Thermal Hydraulic disaggregation of Soil Moisture (THySM) high-resolution soil moisture (1km) product using ensemble kalman filter propagation approach and integrating satellite based tillage maps (30m). The CCMS framework was developed using Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model and satellite derived products (i.e. leaf area index, crop phenology and crop type maps). As part of this task, we will produce 30m tillage maps using harmonized Landsat and Sentinel data based on Normalized Difference Tillage Index (NDTI) based approach. In task-2, we will evaluate improved system through conducting pilot studies in 4 regions that represent major regions of winter wheat, cotton, corn, soybeans,rice, spring wheat and canola. These regions include Maryland, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Manitoba, CA. In task-3, improved CCMS framework will be implemented over the conterminous U.S and Canada to estimate seasonal (daily) and annual net ecosystem carbon balance, other elements of the carbon cycle (i.e. NPP, NEE, soil lateral C fluxes), and N2O for major cropping systems from 2017-2021, and to quantify the uncertainty in the estimated products. Finally, in task 4, we will engage and collaborate with public agencies responsible for carbon monitoring and management in agricultural systems (e.g. USDA Climate hubs, U.S State governments, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and with private companies working in the carbon removal marketplace space to sell sequestration credits (e.g. Nori). We will work to understand the usability of CCMS products in their ongoing programs and also work closely with them to integrate CCMS products into decision support systems (e.g. NRCS COMET planner tool; AAFC’s Agricultural Greenhouse Gases indicator) and outreach programs.