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J Environ Qual. 2006 Jul 6;35(4):1451-60. Print 2006 Jul-Aug.

DAYCENT national-scale simulations of nitrous oxide emissions from cropped soils in the United States.

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  • 1USDA-ARS-NPA-SPNR, Natural Resources Research Center, Fort Collins, CO 80526-8119, USA. delgro@nrel.colostate.edu


Until recently, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emission factor methodology, based on simple empirical relationships, has been used to estimate carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) fluxes for regional and national inventories. However, the 2005 USEPA greenhouse gas inventory includes estimates of N2O emissions from cultivated soils derived from simulations using DAYCENT, a process-based biogeochemical model. DAYCENT simulated major U.S. crops at county-level resolution and IPCC emission factor methodology was used to estimate emissions for the approximately 14% of cropped land not simulated by DAYCENT. The methodology used to combine DAYCENT simulations and IPCC methodology to estimate direct and indirect N2O emissions is described in detail. Nitrous oxide emissions from simulations of presettlement native vegetation were subtracted from cropped soil N2O to isolate anthropogenic emissions. Meteorological data required to drive DAYCENT were acquired from DAYMET, an algorithm that uses weather station data and accounts for topography to predict daily temperature and precipitation at 1-km2 resolution. Soils data were acquired from the State Soil Geographic Database (STATSGO). Weather data and dominant soil texture class that lie closest to the geographical center of the largest cluster of cropped land in each county were used to drive DAYCENT. Land management information was implemented at the agricultural-economic region level, as defined by the Agricultural Sector Model. Maps of model-simulated county-level crop yields were compared with yields estimated by the USDA for quality control. Combining results from DAYCENT simulations of major crops and IPCC methodology for remaining cropland yielded estimates of approximately 109 and approximately 70 Tg CO2 equivalents for direct and indirect, respectively, mean annual anthropogenic N2O emissions for 1990-2003.

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