Submitted to: Dust Aerosol, Loess Soils and Climate Change Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/11/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Soil organic carbon is a major contributor to the suitability of soil for agricultural production. Unfortunately, agricultural practices have reduced soil carbon levels leading to poor soil quality, accelerated soil erosion, and increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas). Evaluating the significance of soil carbon in global change scenarios and sustainable agriculture requires information on how long-ter agricultural practices affect the cycling of soil carbon including amounts retained in the soil and that released to the atmosphere. We found that soils with high levels of clay that formed under prairie vegetation have a high capacity to store soil carbon as compared to sandy soils that were derived from forests. We concluded that there is substantial potential for some soils to store carbon and help mitigate greenhouse gas production while improving the soils capacity as a nutrient reserve for sustainable agriculture.
Technical Abstract: Predicting the dust emission from a domain larger than field scale requires knowledge of general regional time-dependent characteristcs such as a stage of crop growth and rainfall history and spatially-dependent characteristics such as soil type, farming systems and vegetative cover. A PM10 dust flux model was developed from extensive field data throughout the Columbia Plateau of Eastern Washington State. This model was included as the input to a regional GIS-based prediction model and preliminary trials show quite reasonable results when compared with downwind dust concentrations for several historic events. Following further development and evaluations, this model may have the capability to estimate dust emissions from a variety of regional situations and potential control strategies with an accuracy suitable for planning and policy decisions.