finding 5.6 : key-message-5-6

Projected climate change likely will increase CH4 emissions from livestock manure management locations, but it will have a lesser impact on enteric CH4 emissions (high confidence). Potential effects of climate change on agricultural soil carbon stocks are difficult to assess because they will vary according to the nature of the change, onsite ecosystem characteristics, production system, and management type (high confidence).

This finding is from chapter 5 of Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2): A Sustained Assessment Report.

Description of evidence base: A recent analysis for the northeastern United States (Hristov et al., 2017a) estimated potential climate change effects on livestock GHG emissions.

New information and remaining uncertainties: Uncertainties include projecting climate change, its effect on animal feed intake (which determines enteric CH4 emissions), animals’ ability to adapt to climate change, and uncertainties regarding trends in animal productivity. The effect of increased temperature on manure GHG emissions is more predictable.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: There is high confidence that projected temperature increases are expected to decrease dry matter intake by dairy cows due to heat stress (Hristov et al., 2017a), while CH4 emissions from manure decomposition are expected to increase (Rotz et al., 2016). Climate change effects on soil carbon sequestration balances and interactions with temperature are difficult to predict because temperature may regionally improve or degrade growing conditions, thereby shifting associated biomass inputs (Zhao et al., 2017; Tubiello et al., 2007). Likewise, increased atmospheric CO2 will increase soil CO2 respiration and mineralization as much as carbon inputs, resulting in little net change in soil carbon pools (Dieleman et al., 2012; Todd-Brown et al., 2014; van Groenigen et al., 2014).

This finding was derived from figure P.2: P.2. Likelihood and Confidence Evaluation

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