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Title: Importance of biophysical effects on climate warming mitigation potential of biofuel crops over the conterminous United States

Current quantification of climate warming mitigation potential (CWMP) of biomass-derived energy has focused primarily on its biogeochemical effects. This study used site-level observations of carbon, water, and energy fluxes of biofuel crops to parameterize and evaluate the community land model (CLM) and estimate CO 2 fluxes, surface energy balance, soil carbon dynamics of corn (Zea mays), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), and miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus) ecosystems across the conterminous United States considering different agricultural management practices and land-use scenarios. Here, we find that neglecting biophysical effects underestimates the CWMP of transitioning from croplands and marginal lands to energy crops. Biogeochemical effects alone result in changes in carbon storage of -1.9, 49.1, and 69.3 g C m -2 y -1 compared to 20.5, 78.5, and 96.2 g C m -2 y -1 when considering both biophysical and biogeochemical effects for corn, switchgrass, and miscanthus, respectively. The biophysical contribution to CWMP is dominated by changes in latent heat fluxes. Using the model to optimize growth conditions through fertilization and irrigation increases the CWMP further to 79.6, 98.3, and 118.8 g C m -2 y -1, respectively, representing the upper threshold for CWMP. Results also show that the CWMP over marginal lands is lowermore » than that over croplands. Our study highlights that neglecting the biophysical effects of altered surface energy and water balance underestimates the CWMP of transitioning to bioenergy crops at regional scales.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States). Dept. of Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
  2. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL (United States). Dept. of Plant Biology
  3. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL (United States). Dept. of Plant Biology; US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)., Urbana, IA (United States). Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FG02-08ER64599; NSF-1028291
Published Article
Journal Name:
Global Change Biology. Bioenergy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 1757-1693
Research Org:
Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; agricultural management; biofuel crops; biophysical effect; carbon sequestration; community land model; marginal land
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1259326; OSTI ID: 1393452