Navigation Links
Scientists identify new implications for perennial bioenergy crops
Date:2/28/2011

TEMPE, Ariz. A team of researchers from Arizona State University, Stanford University and Carnegie Institution for Science has found that converting large swaths of land to bioenergy crops could have a wide range of effects on regional climate.

In an effort to help wean itself off fossil fuels, the U.S. has mandated significant increases in renewable fuels, with more than one-third of the domestic corn harvest to be used for conversion to ethanol by 2018. But concerns about effects of corn ethanol on food prices and deforestation had led to research suggesting that ethanol be derived from perennial crops, like the giant grasses Miscanthus and switchgrass. Nearly all of this research, though, has focused on the effects of ethanol on carbon dioxide emissions, which drive global warming.

"Almost all of the work performed to date has focused on the carbon effects," said Matei Georgescu, a climate modeler working in ASU's Center for Environmental Fluid Dynamics. "We've tried to expand our perspective to look at a more complete picture. What we've shown is that it's not all about greenhouse gases, and that modifying the landscape can be just as important."

Georgescu and his colleagues report their findings in the early online edition (Feb. 28, 2011) of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Co-authors are David Lobell of Stanford University and Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science, both located in Stanford, Calif.

In their study, the researchers simulated an entire growing season with a state-of-the-art regional climate model. They ran two sets of experiments one with an annual crop representation over the central U.S. and one with an extended growing season to represent perennial grasses. In the model, the perennial plants pumped more water from the soil to the atmosphere, leading to large local cooling.

"We've shown that planting perennial bioenergy crops can lower surface temperatures by about a degree Celsius locally, averaged over the entire growing season. That's a pretty big effect, enough to dominate any effects of carbon savings on the regional climate," said Lobell.

The primary physical process at work is based on greater evapotranspiration (combination of evaporated water from the soil surface and plant canopy and transpired water from within the soil) for perennial crops compared to annual crops.

"More study is needed to understand the long-term implication for regional water balance," Georgescu said. "This study focused on temperature, but the more general point is that simply assessing the impacts on carbon and greenhouse gases overlooks important features that we cannot ignore if we want a bioenergy path that is sustainable over the long haul."


'/>"/>

Contact: Skip Derra
skip.derra@asu.edu
480-965-4823
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. University of Miami scientists track great hammerhead shark migration
2. Scientists find a new way insulin-producing cells die
3. TCD scientists discover that self-eating cells safeguard against cancer
4. MIT scientists say ocean currents cause microbes to filter light
5. Even in a crowd, you remain unique, UCLA life scientists report
6. Gender gap: Selection bias snubs scholarly achievements of female scientists
7. Brown scientists to discuss best practices for the oceans
8. Scientists discover agaves tremendous potential as new bioenergy feedstock
9. University of Miami scientists find new way to estimate global rainfall and track ocean pollution
10. Scientists discover cell of origin for childhood muscle cancer
11. Choosing your neighbors: MBL scientists see how microbes relate in space
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/26/2017)...  Securus Technologies, a leading provider of civil ... investigation, corrections and monitoring, announces the appointment of ... "Too often, too many offenders return to jail ... trying to tackle this ongoing problem and improve ... members. While significant steps are underway, Securus continues to ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... of Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature Hospice, ... study that will apply the power of IBM cognitive ... and health centers. By analyzing data streaming from sensors ... into physical and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper learnings ...
(Date:2/14/2017)... WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. , Feb. 14, 2017  Wake ... FRY-shlog), M.D., as its new chief executive officer (CEO). ... succeeds CEO John D. McConnell , M.D., who ... new position at the Medical Center, after leading it ... oversee the full scope of Wake Forest Baptist,s academic ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)...  Ascendis Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ASND), a biopharmaceutical ... address significant unmet medical needs in rare diseases, ... ended December 31, 2016. "2016 ... we broadened our pipeline and pursued our vision ... with an initial focus on endocrinology," said ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... New York , March 22, 2017 ... is largely fragmented, states a research report by Transparency ... S.A., Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., and AbbVie Inc., accounted ... in 2015. The prominent players in this market are ... expand their product portfolio, which is likely to lead ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Premier executive recruitment firm, Slone Partners, is proud ... Hunt Scanlon Media. , Hunt Scanlon Media is one of the most ... news source in the human capital sector. , “It is a great honor for ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... The Conference Forum has announced the ... be held on May 10-11, 2017, at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston, MA. The ... Medical Officer peer-to-peer learning, benchmarking and support. , “The Chief Medical Officer faces a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: