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Title: Land management strategies for improving water quality in biomass production under changing climate

Abstract

Here, the Corn Belt states are the largest corn-production areas in the United States because of their fertile land and ideal climate. This attribute is particularly important as the region also plays a key role in the production of bioenergy feedstock. In much of the nation, agricultural nutrients are a primary cause of water quality degradation. This study focuses on potential change in streamflow, sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus due to climate change and land management practices in the South Fork Iowa River (SFIR) watershed, Iowa. Thirty-six projections from select Regional Climate Models (RCM) for Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 2.5, 4.5, and 8.5 were used to develop climate change scenarios for the SFIR watershed and incorporated into the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The watershed is covered primarily with annual crops (corn and soybeans). Three scenarios of land use change and conservation practices were further developed to examine their impacts on water quality under historical and modeled future climate. With cropland conversion to switchgrass, stover harvest, and best management practices (BMPs) (such as establishing riparian buffers and applying cover crops) significant reductions in nutrients were observed in the SFIR watershed under historical climate and future climate scenarios. Under historical climate,more » suspended sediment (SS), total nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) at the outlet point of the SFIR watershed could decrease by up to 56.7%, 32.0%, and 16.5%, respectively, compare with current land use when a portion of the cropland is converted to switchgrass and cover crop is in place. Climate change could cause an increase in 12.0% (SS), 4.7% (N), and 7.7% (P) from current land use. This increase could be mitigated through land management and practices by 53.6% (SS), 27.8 (N), and 7.0% (P). Climate change reduced crop yield. Nutrient and sediments loadings distributed heterogeneously across the watershed. Water footprint analysis further revealed changes in green water that are highly dependent on land management scenarios. The study highlights the versatile approaches in landscape management that are available to address climate change adaptation and acknowledged the complex nature of different perspectives in water sustainability. Further study involving implementing landscape design and management using long-term field to watershed water monitoring data is necessary to verify the findings and moving towards watershed specific regional programs for climate adaptation.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Lemont, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1363797
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 12; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
Publisher:
IOP Publishing
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; BMPs; bioenergy production; land use and management; nutrient; phosphorous; sediment; switchgrass; climate change; cover crops; nitrogen; riparian buffer

Citation Formats

Ha, Miae, and Wu, May. Land management strategies for improving water quality in biomass production under changing climate. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa5f32.
Ha, Miae, & Wu, May. Land management strategies for improving water quality in biomass production under changing climate. United States. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa5f32.
Ha, Miae, and Wu, May. Tue . "Land management strategies for improving water quality in biomass production under changing climate". United States. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa5f32. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1363797.
@article{osti_1363797,
title = {Land management strategies for improving water quality in biomass production under changing climate},
author = {Ha, Miae and Wu, May},
abstractNote = {Here, the Corn Belt states are the largest corn-production areas in the United States because of their fertile land and ideal climate. This attribute is particularly important as the region also plays a key role in the production of bioenergy feedstock. In much of the nation, agricultural nutrients are a primary cause of water quality degradation. This study focuses on potential change in streamflow, sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus due to climate change and land management practices in the South Fork Iowa River (SFIR) watershed, Iowa. Thirty-six projections from select Regional Climate Models (RCM) for Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 2.5, 4.5, and 8.5 were used to develop climate change scenarios for the SFIR watershed and incorporated into the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The watershed is covered primarily with annual crops (corn and soybeans). Three scenarios of land use change and conservation practices were further developed to examine their impacts on water quality under historical and modeled future climate. With cropland conversion to switchgrass, stover harvest, and best management practices (BMPs) (such as establishing riparian buffers and applying cover crops) significant reductions in nutrients were observed in the SFIR watershed under historical climate and future climate scenarios. Under historical climate, suspended sediment (SS), total nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) at the outlet point of the SFIR watershed could decrease by up to 56.7%, 32.0%, and 16.5%, respectively, compare with current land use when a portion of the cropland is converted to switchgrass and cover crop is in place. Climate change could cause an increase in 12.0% (SS), 4.7% (N), and 7.7% (P) from current land use. This increase could be mitigated through land management and practices by 53.6% (SS), 27.8 (N), and 7.0% (P). Climate change reduced crop yield. Nutrient and sediments loadings distributed heterogeneously across the watershed. Water footprint analysis further revealed changes in green water that are highly dependent on land management scenarios. The study highlights the versatile approaches in landscape management that are available to address climate change adaptation and acknowledged the complex nature of different perspectives in water sustainability. Further study involving implementing landscape design and management using long-term field to watershed water monitoring data is necessary to verify the findings and moving towards watershed specific regional programs for climate adaptation.},
doi = {10.1088/1748-9326/aa5f32},
journal = {Environmental Research Letters},
number = 3,
volume = 12,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Mar 07 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Tue Mar 07 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

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  • While the effects of land use change in urban areas have been widely examined, the combined effects of climate and land use change on the quality of urban and urbanizing streams have received much less attention. We describe a modeling framework that is applicable to the evaluation of potential changes in urban water quality and associated hydrologic changes in response to ongoing climate and landscape alteration. The grid-based spatially distributed model, DHSVM-WQ, is an outgrowth of the Distributed Hydrology-Soil-Vegetation Model (DHSVM) that incorporates modules for assessing hydrology and water quality in urbanized watersheds at a high spatial and temporal resolution.more » DHSVM-WQ simulates surface runoff quality and in-stream processes that control the transport of nonpoint-source (NPS) pollutants into urban streams. We configure DHSVM-WQ for three partially urbanized catchments in the Puget Sound region to evaluate the water quality responses to current conditions and projected changes in climate and/or land use over the next century. Here we focus on total suspended solids (TSS) and total phosphorus (TP) from nonpoint sources (runoff), as well as stream temperature. The projection of future land use is characterized by a combination of densification in existing urban or partially urban areas, and expansion of the urban footprint. The climate change scenarios consist of individual and concurrent changes in temperature and precipitation. Future precipitation is projected to increase in winter and decrease in summer, while future temperature is projected to increase throughout the year. Our results show that urbanization has a much greater effect than climate change on both the magnitude and seasonal variability of streamflow, TSS and TP loads largely due to substantially increased streamflow, and particularly winter flow peaks. Water temperature is more sensitive to climate warming scenarios than to urbanization and precipitation changes. Future urbanization and climate change together are predicted to significantly increase annual mean streamflow (up to 55%), water temperature (up to 1.9 ºC), TSS load (up to 182%), and TP load (up to 74%).« less
  • Replacing row crops with perennial bioenergy crops may reduce nitrogen (N) loading to surface waters. We estimated the benefits, costs, and potential for replacing maize with switchgrass to meet required N loading reduction targets for the Chesapeake Bay (CB) of 26.9 Gg -1. After subtracting the potential reduction in N loading due to improved N fertilizer practices for maize, a further 22.8 Gg reduction is required. Replacing maize with fertilized switchgrass could reduce N loading to the CB by 18 kg ha -1 y -1, meeting 31% of the N reduction target. The break-even price of fertilized switchgrass to providemore » the same profit as maize in the CB is 111 $Mg -1 (oven-dry basis throughout). Growers replacing maize with switchgrass could receive an ecosystem service payment of 148 ha -1 based on the price paid in Maryland for planting a rye cover crop. For our estimated average switchgrass yield of 9.9 Mg ha -1, and the greater N loading reduction of switchgrass compared to a cover crop, this equates to 24 dollars Mg -1. The annual cost of this ecosystem service payment to induce switchgrass planting is 13.29 dollars kg -1 of N. Using the POLYSYS model to account for competition among food, feed, and biomass markets, we found that with the ecosystem service payment for switchgrass of 25 $ Mg -1 added to a farm-gate price of 111 dollars Mg -1, 11% of the N loading reduction target could be met while also producing 1.3 Tg of switchgrass, potentially yielding 420 dam 3 y -1 of ethanol.« less
  • In this paper, the effects of irrigation on global surface water (SW) and groundwater (GW) resources are investigated by performing simulations using Community Land Model 4.0 (CLM4) at 0.5-degree resolution driven by downscaled/bias-corrected historical simulations and future projections from five General Circulation Models (GCMs) for 1950-2099. For each climate scenario, three sets of numerical experiments were configured: (1) a control experiment (CTRL) in which all crops are assumed to be rainfed; (2) an irrigation experiment (IRRIG) in which the irrigation module using only SW for irrigation is activated; and (3) a groundwater pumping experiment (PUMP) in which a groundwater pumpingmore » scheme coupled with the irrigation module is activated for conjunctive use of SW and GW for irrigation. The parameters associated with irrigation and groundwater pumping are calibrated based on a global inventory of census-based SW and GW use compiled by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Our results suggest that irrigation could lead to two major opposing effects: SW depletion/GW accumulation in regions with irrigation primarily fed by SW, and SW accumulation/GW depletion in regions with irrigation fed primarily by GW. Furthermore, irrigation depending primarily on SW tends to have larger impacts on low-flow than high-flow conditions, suggesting the potential to increase vulnerability to drought. By the end of the 21st century (2070-2099), climate change significantly increases (relative to 1971-2000) irrigation water demand across the world. Combined with the increased temporal-spatial variability of water supply, this may lead to severe issues of local water scarcity for irrigation. Regionally, irrigation has the potential to aggravate/alleviate climate-induced changes of SW/GW although such effects are negligible when averaged globally. Our results emphasize the importance of accounting for irrigation effects and irrigation sources in regional climate change impact assessment.« less
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  • In this paper, the effects of irrigation on global surface water (SW) and groundwater (GW) resources are investigated by performing simulations using Community Land Model 4.0 (CLM4) at 0.5-degree resolution driven by downscaled/bias-corrected historical simulations and future projections from five General Circulation Models (GCMs) for 1950-2099. For each climate scenario, three sets of numerical experiments were configured: (1) a control experiment (CTRL) in which all crops are assumed to be rainfed; (2) an irrigation experiment (IRRIG) in which the irrigation module using only SW for irrigation is activated; and (3) a groundwater pumping experiment (PUMP) in which a groundwater pumpingmore » scheme coupled with the irrigation module is activated for conjunctive use of SW and GW for irrigation. The parameters associated with irrigation and groundwater pumping are calibrated based on a global inventory of census-based SW and GW use compiled by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Our results suggest that irrigation could lead to two major opposing effects: SW depletion/GW accumulation in regions with irrigation primarily fed by SW, and SW accumulation/GW depletion in regions with irrigation fed primarily by GW. Furthermore, irrigation depending primarily on SW tends to have larger impacts on low-flow than high-flow conditions, suggesting the potential to increase vulnerability to drought. By the end of the 21st century (2070-2099), climate change significantly increases (relative to 1971-2000) irrigation water demand across the world. Combined with the increased temporal-spatial variability of water supply, this may lead to severe issues of local water scarcity for irrigation. Regionally, irrigation has the potential to aggravate/alleviate climate-induced changes of SW/GW although such effects are negligible when averaged globally. Our results emphasize the importance of accounting for irrigation effects and irrigation sources in regional climate change impact assessment.« less