Albedo-induced global warming impact of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands converted to annual and perennial bioenergy crops

Loading...
Thumbnail Image
File version
Version of Record (VoR)
Author(s)
Abraha, M
Chen, J
Hamilton, SK
Sciusco, P
Lei, C
Shirkey, G
Yuan, J
Robertson, GP
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
Editor(s)
Date
2021
Size
File type(s)
Location
License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Abstract

Climate benefit assessments of bioenergy crops often focus on biogeochemical impacts, paying little if any attention to biogeophysical impacts. However, land conversions required for large-scale bioenergy crop production are substantial and may directly affect the climate by altering surface energy balance. In the US, such land conversions are likely to be met in part by converting Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grassland to bioenergy crops. Here, we converted three 22 year old CRP smooth brome grass fields into no-till corn, switchgrass, or restored prairie bioenergy crops. We assessed the biogeophysical climate impact of the conversions using albedo changes relative to unconverted reference CRP grassland. The corn and perennial fields had higher annual albedo than the grassland they replaced - causing cooling of the local climate. The cooling of the corn field occurred solely during the non-growing season - especially when surfaces were snow-covered, whereas the cooling of the perennial fields was more prominent during the growing season. Compared to biogeochemical impacts with fossil fuel offsets for the same land conversions over eight years, the annual albedo-induced climate benefits add ∼35% and ∼78% to the annual biogeochemical benefits provided from the switchgrass and restored prairie fields, respectively, and offset ∼3.3% of the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the corn field. We conclude that albedo-induced climate mitigation from conversion of CRP lands to perennial but not annual bioenergy crops can be substantial, and future climate impact assessments of bioenergy crops should include albedo changes in addition to GHG balances in order to better inform climate policies.

Journal Title
Environmental Research Letters
Conference Title
Book Title
Edition
Volume
16
Issue
8
Thesis Type
Degree Program
School
Publisher link
Patent number
Funder(s)
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.
Item Access Status
Note
Access the data
Related item(s)
Subject
Environmental sciences
Crop and pasture production
Persistent link to this record
Citation
Abraha, M; Chen, J; Hamilton, SK; Sciusco, P; Lei, C; Shirkey, G; Yuan, J; Robertson, GP, Albedo-induced global warming impact of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands converted to annual and perennial bioenergy crops, Environmental Research Letters, 2021, 16 (8), pp. 084059
Collections