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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #399852

Research Project: Developing and Evaluating Strategies to Protect and Conserve Water and Environmental Resources While Maintaining Productivity in Agronomic Systems

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: The joy of measuring

item Baker, John
item GRIFFIS, TIMOTHY - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Gaining a newfound ability to measure something can be both exciting and perplexing, particularly when the measured results don’t align with prior expectations. The perplexing part is determining if the measurements are valid, and not some sort of artifact; the exciting parts are the new knowledge and the new research directions that open up. One topic area in which this has occurred is nitrous oxide (N2O) research. N2O is a potent greenhouse gas, and agriculture is the primary source of it. Recent improvements in our ability to measure N2O under a variety of settings and circumstances, and to combine measurements with inverse modeling, have revealed some surprises. These data have shown that indirect emissions (those that occur after nitrate has left a field) are a much larger component of loss than previously thought. They have also shown that emissions from unfertilized legumes can sometimes exceed those from heavily fertilized maize. Another aspect of advances in measurement technology that has produced some surprises has been the widespread and long-term deployment of eddy covariance instrumentation, which has challenged previous assumptions, for instance about the relative water use of managed versus natural ecosystems.