Soils play a vital role in dealing with the environmental impacts of rising atmospheric carbon levels, primarily CO2, from natural and human activities. The Earth’s carbon budget is a dynamic process. As carbon is released through fossil-fuel burning and changing land use, scientists are seeking a more accurate understanding of carbon storage and cycling.
The Earth holds carbon in what scientists call pools, reservoirs of carbon stocks stored in and on the earth and oceans as organic and inorganic matter. Simplistically, organic carbon compounds are connected to plants or animals while inorganic carbon compounds are often linked to minerals or rocks. Soil is second only to the oceans as a carbon sink, pools into which more carbon flows in than out. Soil scientists have a better picture of soil organic carbon (SOC) – soil containing decaying plant and animal matter – than soil inorganic carbon (SIC). Scientists are now studying SIC, theorizing it may be a key area for forming and holding carbon, preventing it from returning to the atmosphere for eons.
A team of Experiment Station scientists from Clemson University and Virginia Tech analyzed the 12 major soil groups in the continental United States, ranking them for their potential ability to form new SIC based on average annual atmospheric wet deposition (AAAWD) of calcium (Ca) – that is, the amount of Ca2+ (ionic calcium) present in rainfall. The results were first presented at the Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting in November 2007 in New Orleans, LA and recently have been published in the May-June 2009 issue of the Soil Science Society of America Journal.
The study evaluated AAAWD of Ca2+ from 1994 to 2003 within the continental United States by soil order, using spatial analysis of Ca2+ wet deposition data obtained from the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) and the State Soil Geographic (STATSGO) Database from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Using geographic information system (GIS) software, spatial data layers were developed and averaged to create a final Ca2+ wet deposition map layer. The total Ca2+ wet deposition per soil order (in kg) was then calculated by combining the final average Ca2+ wet deposition map layer with the generalized soil order data layer.
Results from the study revealed that the total AAAWD of Ca2+ within the continental United States was 8.6 × 108 kg, which would be equivalent to the maximum theoretical formation of 2.6 × 108 kg of carbon as SIC, barring losses of Ca2+ due to competitive processes, such as plant uptake, erosion, and deep leaching. The soil orders receiving the highest area-normalized total AAAWD of Ca2+ were Alfisols and Mollisols, non-arid soils that are typically associated with the “bread-basket” regions of the United States.
Research team member Elena Mikhailova, a soil scientist at Clemson who originally conceived the research approach, stated “Formation of new carbonate minerals in soils – what scientists call pedogenic carbonates – represent a pathway by which atmospheric CO2 can be sequestered. Maps of potential SIC formation and storage based on wet Ca2+ deposition can aid in understanding terrestrial ecosystem inorganic carbon dynamics and the way it can be manipulated to decrease CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.”
The research is part of an ongoing project at Clemson to study soil carbon, particularly inorganic carbon stocks, and its role in the global carbon budget. Studies will measure, profile and identify the soil carbon characteristics and regional distribution to understand conditions and develop predictive models for future soil inorganic carbon research.
The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://soil.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/73/3/989.
Soil Science Society of America Journal, http://soil.scijournals.org, is a peer-reviewed international journal published six times a year by the Soil Science Society of America. Its contents focus on research relating to physics; chemistry; biology and biochemistry; fertility and plant nutrition; genesis, morphology, and classification; water management and conservation; forest, range, and wildland soils; nutrient management and soil and plant analysis; mineralogy; and wetland soils.
The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.
SSSA supports its members by providing quality research-based publications, educational programs, certifications, and science policy initiatives via a Washington, DC, office. For more information, visit www.soils.org.
SSSA is the founding sponsor of an approximately 5,000-square foot exhibition, Dig It! The Secrets of Soil, opening July 19, 2008 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.
Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further reports about: > AAAWD > CO2 > CO2 concentration > Ca2+ > Carbon > Earth’s surface > GENESIS > Mineralogy > Recycling > SIC > SSSA > Science TV > Soil > Soil Science > bioremediation > crop production > ecosystem sustainability > environmental quality > fertility and plant nutrition > land use > morphology > soil carbon > waste management > wetland soils
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
26.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences