Organization: Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Research Title: Soil Carbon Studies

Funding Level (millions of dollars):

FY94 1.5
FY95 1.5
FY96 1.5

Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Component:
(a) Subcommittee: Global Change Subcommittee (100%)
(b) Environmental Issue: Global Climate Change
(c) Research Activity: System structure and function: Understanding (100%)

Organizational Component:
Soil Conservation Service
USDA, SCS, 12th & Independence Ave.
Washington, DC

Point of Contact:
John Kimble
Phone: 403-437-5363

Research Goals:
To reduce scientific uncertainty in the areas of climate and hydrologic systems and biogeochemical dynamics, which are very high science priority areas identified in the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) priority framework. The database will also support research in the ecological systems and dynamics and earth system history priority areas.

Research Description:
There are three components of the SCS Global Climate Change Program:

Program Interfaces:
The cited Soil Conservation Service research is part of the USDA Global Change Program which proposes the automation of soil climate and associated meteorological climate data collection and data management. The data are especially needed for the development of the Continental-Scale International Project (CSIP) model validation study of the Mississippi River Basin, which is part of the interagency Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWES) in which NOAA, NSF, DOI and NASA participate. Support will also be given to the USDA/ARS Global Change Water Resources and Agriculture Research Program on the physical, agricultural system (including crop production prediction) to environmental variables expected to be affected by global climate change.

Program Milestones:
Summer, 94: Completion of Soils report on the CPER - LTER in Colorado (Central Plains Experimental Range) and deep core drilling in MLRA 77 to look at paleosols and their relationship to past climate changes. Spring, 95: Establish an on-line data base based on programs set up to evaluate data and quality control checks. Summer, 95: Carbon map of North America completed (jointly with Mexico and Canada) and test project to measure effective CRP on carbon storage under way jointly with ARS. Fall, 95: Updated data base for use by modelers on carbon storage and develop in conjunction with university groups procedures to give a better fractionation of carbon.

Policy Payoffs:
(i) Successful automation of soil climate and associated meteorological climate data collection and data management will be a significant contribution to collaborative efforts among other agencies and to the network of international Agriculture Research Centers; (ii) The soil genesis and morphology modeling can be applied to predictions of climate change impacts on soil organic carbon and crop productivity along climatic gradients; and (iii) The data can also be used to validate and improve computer simulation models describing soil physics, chemistry, biology, and cumulative interaction effects, as well as wind erosion and water quality.