Soil Erosion as an Influence on Atmospheric CO2

Date August 2009 - present
Contact Sharon Billings
Location Statewide

Summary

Recent studies indicate that soil erosion may serve as a net sink for carbon, though this is an unresolved controversy in the literature. We have developed a user-friendly, spreadsheet-based model that permits investigators to examine an eroding soil profile of interest and determine the extent to which its erosion results in a net atmospheric carbon source or sink. Rather than asserting that erosion serves as either a net carbon source or sink, the model serves as a tool to assess which parameters are critical determinants of the net carbon flux into or out of an eroding profile. The model is the result of a workshop in March 2007, hosted by Dr. Robert Buddemeier at the Kansas Geological Survey, and was developed in close collaboration with him. We currently are applying the model to boreal forest sites, where permafrost degradation can induce high erosion rates. This work is in collaboration with colleagues at the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, the National Park Service in Fairbanks, and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany.

Staff

Sharon Billings