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Irrigation's impacts on global carbon uptake
Date:8/25/2011

mportant step toward quantifying how management decisions can impact global carbon balance and assessing the economic worth of water and carbon in irrigated landscapes.

"Now that we have spatially-explicit maps of how much irrigation is increasing carbon accumulation, we have good information about the value of the water going into those areas. We might be able to come up with a value of carbon in those areas as well," he says. "Of course the flip side of this is that, in many places around the world, if we keep irrigating we are either going to run out of water or degrade soils because of salinity issues."

The current study does not factor in any impacts in areas from which irrigation water is drawn. However, Ozdogan says, a better understanding of the links between irrigation, productivity, and carbon will help researchers look at downstream effects of factors that influence each of those elements - for example, how water shortages in agricultural regions may affect regional carbon cycles and climate.

The study continues a history of work from the UW-Madison's Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment that includes the development of several freely available climate and ecosystem models, maps, and datasets (available at http://www.sage.wisc.edu/mapsdatamodels.html). This research was partially supported by a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Applied Sciences Program grant.


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Contact: Mutlu Ozdogan
ozdogan@wisc.edu
608-890-0336
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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