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  1. Abstract

    Changes in land surface albedo can alter ecosystem energy balance and potentially influence climate. We examined the albedo of six bioenergy cropping systems in southwest Michigan USA: monocultures of energy sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), switchgrass (Panicum virgatumL.), and giant miscanthus (Miscanthus×giganteus), and polycultures of native grasses, early successional vegetation, and restored prairie. Direct field measurements of surface albedo (αs) from May 2018 through December 2020 at half‐hourly intervals in each system quantified the magnitudes and seasonal differences in albedo (∆α) and albedo‐induced radiative forcing (RFα). We used a nearby forest as a historical native cover type to estimate reference albedo and RFαchange upon original land use conversion, and a continuous no‐till maize (Zea mays L.) system as a contemporary reference to estimate change upon conversion from annual row crops. Annually,αsdiffered significantly (p < 0.05) among crops in the order: early successional (0.288 ± 0.012SE) >> miscanthus (0.271 ± 0.009) ≈ energy sorghum (0.270 ± 0.010) ≥ switchgrass (0.265 ± 0.009) ≈ restored prairie (0.264 ± 0.012) > native grasses (0.259 ± 0.010) > maize (0.247 ± 0.010). Reference forest had the lowest annualαs(0.134 ± 0.003). Albedo differences among crops during the growing season were also statistically significant, with growing seasonαsin perennial crops and energy sorghum on average ~20% higher (0.206 ± 0.003) than in no‐till maize (0.184 ± 0.002). Average non‐growing season (NGS)αs(0.370 ± 0.020) was much higher than growing seasonαs(0.203 ± 0.003) but these NGS differences were not significant. Overall, the original conversion of reference forest and maize landscapes to perennials provided a cooling effect on the local climate (RFαMAIZE: −3.83 ± 1.00 W m−2; RFαFOREST: −16.75 ± 3.01 W m−2). Significant differences among cropping systems suggest an additional management intervention for maximizing the positive climate benefit of bioenergy crops, with cellulosic crops on average ~9.1% more reflective than no‐till maize, which itself was about twice as reflective as the reference forest.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. Leaf photosynthesis of perennial grasses usually decreases markedly from early to late summer, even when the canopy remains green and environmental conditions are favorable for photosynthesis. Understanding the physiological basis of this photosynthetic decline reveals the potential for yield improvement. We tested the association of seasonal photosynthetic decline in switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum L.) with water availability by comparing plants experiencing ambient rainfall with plants in a rainfall exclusion experiment in Michigan, USA. For switchgrass exposed to ambient rainfall, daily net CO 2 assimilation ( A n e t ' ) declined from 0.9 mol CO 2 m -2 day -1 in early summer to 0.43 mol CO 2 m -2 day -1 in late summer (53% reduction; P<0.0001). Under rainfall exclusion shelters, soil water content was 73% lower and A n e t ' was 12% and 26% lower in July and September, respectively, compared to those of the rainfed plants. Despite these differences, the seasonal photosynthetic decline was similar in the season-long rainfall exclusion compared to the rainfed plants; A n e t ' in switchgrass under the shelters declined from 0.85 mol CO 2 m -2 day -1 in early summer to 0.39 mol CO 2 m -2 day -1 (54% reduction; P<0.0001) in late summer. These results suggest that while water deficit limited A n e t ' late in the season, abundant late-season rainfalls were not enough to restore A n e t ' in the rainfed plants to early-summer values suggesting water deficit was not the sole driver of the decline. Alongside change in photosynthesis, starch in the rhizomes increased 4-fold (P<0.0001) and stabilized when leaf photosynthesis reached constant low values. Additionally, water limitation under shelters had no negative effects on the timing of rhizome starch accumulation, and rhizome starch content increased ~ 6-fold. These results showed that rhizomes also affect leaf photosynthesis during the growing season. Towards the end of the growing season, when vegetative growth is completed and rhizome reserves are filled, diminishing rhizome sink activity likely explained the observed photosynthetic declines in plants under both ambient and reduced water availability. 
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  3. Land surface albedo is a significant regulator of climate. Changes in land use worldwide have greatly reshaped landscapes in the recent decades. Deforestation, agricultural development, and urban expansion alter land surface albedo, each with unique influences on shortwave radiative forcing and global warming impact (GWI). Here, we characterize the changes in landscape albedo-induced GWI (GWIΔα) at multiple temporal scales, with a special focus on the seasonal and monthly GWIΔα over a 19-year period for different land cover types in five ecoregions within a watershed in the upper Midwest USA. The results show that land cover changes from the original forest exhibited a net cooling effect, with contributions of annual GWIΔα varying by cover type and ecoregion. Seasonal and monthly variations of the GWIΔα showed unique trends over the 19-year period and contributed differently to the total GWIΔα. Cropland contributed most to cooling the local climate, with seasonal and monthly offsets of 18% and 83%, respectively, of the annual greenhouse gas emissions of maize fields in the same area. Urban areas exhibited both cooling and warming effects. Cropland and urban areas showed significantly different seasonal GWIΔα at some ecoregions. The landscape composition of the five ecoregions could cause different net landscape GWIΔα. 
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  4. Zhang, Wen-Hao (Ed.)
    Abstract Aims Long-term determination of root biomass production upon land-use conversion to biofuel crops is rare. To assess land-use legacy influences on belowground biomass accumulation, we converted 22-year-old Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands and 50+-year-old agricultural (AGR) lands to corn (C), switchgrass (Sw) and restored prairie (Pr) biofuel crops. We maintained one CRP grassland as a reference (Ref). We hypothesized that land-use history and crop type have significant effects on root density, with perennial crops on CRP grasslands having a higher root biomass productivity, while corn grown on former agricultural lands produce the lowest root biomass. Methods The ingrowth core method was used to determine in situ ingrowth root biomass, alongside measurements of aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP). Ancillary measurements, including air temperature, growing season length and precipitation were used to examine their influences on root biomass production. Important Findings Root biomass productivity was the highest in unconverted CRP grassland (1716 g m−2 yr−1) and lowest in corn fields (526 g m−2 yr−1). All perennial sites converted from CRP and AGR lands had lower root biomass and ANPP in the first year of planting but peaked in 2011 for switchgrass and a year later for restored prairies. Ecosystem stability was higher in restored prairies (AGR-Pr: 4.3 ± 0.11; CRP-Pr: 4.1 ± 0.10), with all monocultures exhibiting a lower stability. Root biomass production was positively related to ANPP (R2 = 0.40). Overall, attention should be given to root biomass accumulation in large-scale biofuel production as it is a major source of carbon sequestration. 
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  5. Abstract

    Wetlands are responsible for 20%–31% of global methane (CH4) emissions and account for a large source of uncertainty in the global CH4budget. Data‐driven upscaling of CH4fluxes from eddy covariance measurements can provide new and independent bottom‐up estimates of wetland CH4emissions. Here, we develop a six‐predictor random forest upscaling model (UpCH4), trained on 119 site‐years of eddy covariance CH4flux data from 43 freshwater wetland sites in the FLUXNET‐CH4 Community Product. Network patterns in site‐level annual means and mean seasonal cycles of CH4fluxes were reproduced accurately in tundra, boreal, and temperate regions (Nash‐Sutcliffe Efficiency ∼0.52–0.63 and 0.53). UpCH4 estimated annual global wetland CH4emissions of 146 ± 43 TgCH4 y−1for 2001–2018 which agrees closely with current bottom‐up land surface models (102–181 TgCH4 y−1) and overlaps with top‐down atmospheric inversion models (155–200 TgCH4 y−1). However, UpCH4 diverged from both types of models in the spatial pattern and seasonal dynamics of tropical wetland emissions. We conclude that upscaling of eddy covariance CH4fluxes has the potential to produce realistic extra‐tropical wetland CH4emissions estimates which will improve with more flux data. To reduce uncertainty in upscaled estimates, researchers could prioritize new wetland flux sites along humid‐to‐arid tropical climate gradients, from major rainforest basins (Congo, Amazon, and SE Asia), into monsoon (Bangladesh and India) and savannah regions (African Sahel) and be paired with improved knowledge of wetland extent seasonal dynamics in these regions. The monthly wetland methane products gridded at 0.25° from UpCH4 are available via ORNL DAAC (

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  6. Abstract

    Accounting for temporal changes in carbon dioxide (CO2) effluxes from freshwaters remains a challenge for global and regional carbon budgets. Here, we synthesize 171 site-months of flux measurements of CO2based on the eddy covariance method from 13 lakes and reservoirs in the Northern Hemisphere, and quantify dynamics at multiple temporal scales. We found pronounced sub-annual variability in CO2flux at all sites. By accounting for diel variation, only 11% of site-months were net daily sinks of CO2. Annual CO2emissions had an average of 25% (range 3%–58%) interannual variation. Similar to studies on streams, nighttime emissions regularly exceeded daytime emissions. Biophysical regulations of CO2flux variability were delineated through mutual information analysis. Sample analysis of CO2fluxes indicate the importance of continuous measurements. Better characterization of short- and long-term variability is necessary to understand and improve detection of temporal changes of CO2fluxes in response to natural and anthropogenic drivers. Our results indicate that existing global lake carbon budgets relying primarily on daytime measurements yield underestimates of net emissions.

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