Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Agricultural production results in three greenhouse gas emissions of consequence. Nitrous oxide emissions come mainly from nitrogen applied to agricultural soils. Methane emissions come mostly from the digestive processes of ruminant animals, manure management and rice cultivation. Net carbon dioxide fluxes come mainly from fossil fuel use, production of fertilizers and other agro-chemicals, and soil management. Depending on whether only direct emissions are included, or whether indirect emissions from land use change and other sources are also counted, agriculture is credited for between 6 and 35% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Improved management and technology can help dramatically reduce GHG emissions from agriculture.

Featured Greenhouse Gas Emissions Publications

  • Nitrogen Management and Climate Change Mitigation in Pacific Northwest Cropping Systems

    Yorgey, G. 2014. Recorded webinar. Part of Pacific Northwest Agriculture and Climate Change Webinar Series available here: http://csanr.wsu.edu/webinars/pnw-ag-and-climate-change/ .

  • Nitrous Oxide Emissions in Inland Pacific Northwest Cropping Systems

    Yorgey, G. 2014. Recorded webinar. Part of Pacific Northwest Agriculture and Climate Change Webinar Series available here: http://csanr.wsu.edu/webinars/pnw-ag-and-climate-change/ .   Flux Tower 3-minute video referenced in presentation.

  • Nitrogen Cycling and Losses in Agricultural Systems

    Borrelli, K. 2014. Recorded webinar. Part of Pacific Northwest Agriculture and Climate Change Webinar Series available here: http://csanr.wsu.edu/webinars/pnw-ag-and-climate-change/ .

  • Management to Reduce N2O Emissions in Organic Vegetable Production Systems

    Cogger, C., A. Fortuna, D. Collins. Feb 27, 2014. The second of a two-part webinar series on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Soil Quality in Long-term Integrated and Transitional Reduced Tillage Organic Systems.

    This is the focus of our current research. How do different organic vegetable production systems affect N2O emissions, and how do other outcomes of those systems affect their potential for adoption?

    • Systems include full tillage with high-carbon amendment (compost), full tillage with low carbon amendment (broiler litter), pasture-vegetable rotation, and reduced tillage cover crop mulch.
    • Measurements include N2O and CO2 emissions, soil N, microbial ecology focused on denitrification organisms, crop yield, and soil quality. Measurements are focused on key times during the season, including amendment application and tillage, irrigation, and freeze-thaw.

    Intended audience is other researchers, and interested extension faculty and farmers.

  • Why the Concern about Nitrous Oxide Emissions?

    Cogger, C., A. Fortuna, D. Collins. Feb 25, 2014. The first of a two-part webinar series on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Soil Quality in Long-term Integrated and Transitional Reduced Tillage Organic Systems.

    Topics for this webinar include:

    • Source and properties of N2O as a greenhouse gas, its relative contribution to global
    • warming, and the role of agriculture in N2O emissions
    • Review of the nitrogen cycle and the production of N2O
    • The relationship between organic practices and N2O production
    • How we measure N2O emissions

    Intended audience is extension faculty and farmers who want a big picture perspective on why we’re interested in nitrous oxide emissions.

  • Anaerobic Digestion

    CSANR webpage.  Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a process in which organic matter is converted into methane by bacteria in the absence of oxygen. Under typical dairy farm conditions manure is stored in open ponds and applied to fields, where decomposition often occurs under anaerobic conditions. This leads to the natural, open-air production of methane, a greenhouse gas with more than 20 times the warming value of carbon dioxide. By enclosing, controlling and accelerating this natural anaerobic conversion process, not only can the methane be contained, but it can be converted to renewable energy, providing two mechanisms for carbon sequestration and global warming reduction – methane capture/conversion and fossil-fuel energy offset.

  • REACCHPNA Monitoring Greenhouse Gases with the Eddy Covariance Flux Tower (3 min)

    May 2013. This video describes how researchers at WSU monitor greenhouse gas exchanges in cereal-based cropping systems using the eddy covariance flux tower. Includes description of flux tower components. This work is part of the REACCH PNA research project.

  • Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Pacific Northwest

    Yorgey, G. 2012.  Recorded webinar.  Part of Pacific Northwest Agriculture and Climate Change Webinar Series available here http://csanr.wsu.edu/webinars/pnw-ag-and-climate-change/ .

  • BioEarth: A regional-scale earth system model to inform land and water management decisions

    Adam, J.C., Rajagopalan, K., Stockle, C.O., Kruger, C.E., Brady, M.P., Barber, M.E., Chinnayakanahalli, K.J., Yorgey, G.G., Nelson, R.L., Dinesh, S., Malek, K., Yoder, J., Chung, S., Vaughan, J.K., Leung, F., Lamb, B.K., Evans, R.D., Harrison, J., Stephens, J., Guenther, A., Kalyanaraman, A., Leung, L.R., Liu, M., Tague, C., Perleberg, A.B., Chen, Y., Norton, T.M., Jiang, X., & Zhu, J. (2012). BioEarth: A regional-scale earth system model to inform land and water management decisions. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, OH.22 October 2012.  The poster can be downloaded via link.

  • Carbon storage and nitrous oxide emissions of cropping systems in eastern Washington: A simulation study

    Stöckle, C., S. Higgins, A. Kemanian, R. Nelson, D. Huggins, J. Marcos, and H. Collins. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 2012 67(5):365-377; doi:10.2489/jswc.67.5.365.

  • How family forest landowners in the Pacific Northwest perceive climate change

    Private forest landowners in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere face the same challenges as public land managers with regard to changing forest conditions. However, little is known regarding the understanding family forest landowners have about climate change and the potential impacts on how they manage their forests. Consequently, the degree to which private landowners are prepared to respond effectively is unknown. To make sure new research and extension programming related to climate change and western forests is as useful as possible for family forest owners, researchers at three universities conducted a needs assessment in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to determine family forest owners’ perceptions, understanding, and educational needs regarding the impact of climate change on their forests. The Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Idaho reports are linked here, as well as an executive summary of the Idaho report.

  • Climate Friendly Farming Final Report: Improving the Carbon Footprint of Agriculture in the Pacific Northwest

    The WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources established the Climate Friendly Farming Project in 2003 with an initial grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. This report represents the culmination of research and assessment of the potential for improved management and technology deployment to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the Pacific Northwest.

Additional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Publications

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