From Kansas State University's:

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases



Charles W. Rice, K-State Department of Agronomy, National CASMGS Director

(785) 532-7217

Scott Staggenborg, K-State Department of Agronomy (785) 532-7214

Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105


September 14, 2005

No. 46



* Higher Temperatures Are Causing Soils To Emit More CO2

* Higher CO2 Levels May Not Increase Growth Rate Of Trees

* Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-free In Summer Within 100 Years



* AEP Extends Participation In Chicago Climate Exchange





Higher Temperatures Are Causing Soils

To Emit More CO2


A study published in the September 8, 2005 issue of the journal Nature points out the importance of the work at K-State and other CASMGS institutions looking into the different forms of organic carbon in the soil, and how to increase the percentage of soil carbon that exists in the most permanent and stable forms.


Guy Kirk and his team at the National Soil Resources Institute at Cranfield University found that soils in Britain are emitting more carbon dioxide into the air than a quarter of a century ago. They conclude that this is due to the effect of warmer temperatures, which are speeding up the natural rate of organic decay.


Soil is a vast store of carbon, holding about 300 times more than the amount of carbon dioxide released through the burning of fossil fuels. This carbon exists in many different forms, however. Some of it is relatively stable, and some is in a form that can easily be lost back into the atmosphere.


If global warming is increasing the rate of emissions of CO2 from the soil in significant quantities, as this article suggests, then it’s even more important to find ways of making a higher percentage of soil carbon more permanent and stable.


To read the complete article in Nature, see:



An analysis and summary of the article can be found at:



-- Steve Watson






Higher CO2 Levels May Not Increase

Growth Rate Of Trees


A new study recently published in Science looks at the effect of higher atmospheric CO2 levels on the growth rate of temperate forest trees. The abstract of the article follows:


Whether rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations will cause forests to grow faster and store more carbon is an open question. Using free air CO2 release in combination with a canopy crane, we found an immediate and sustained enhancement of carbon flux through 35-meter-tall temperate forest trees when exposed to elevated CO2. However, there was no overall stimulation in stem growth and leaf litter production after 4 years. Photosynthetic capacity was not reduced, leaf chemistry changes were minor, and tree species differed in their responses. Although growing vigorously, these trees did not accrete more biomass carbon in stems in response to elevated CO2, thus challenging projections of growth responses derived from tests with smaller trees.


Science, Vol 309, Issue 5739, 1360-1362, 26 August 2005


For details, see:






Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-free

In Summer Within 100 YeaRS


The current warming trends in the Arctic may shove the Arctic system into a seasonally ice-free state not seen for more than one million years, according to a new study by scientists at the University of Arizona. The melting is accelerating, and a team of researchers were unable to identify any natural processes that might slow the de-icing of the Arctic.


Such substantial additional melting of Arctic glaciers and ice sheets will raise sea level worldwide, flooding the coastal areas where many of the world's people live.


Melting sea ice has already resulted in dramatic impacts for the indigenous people and animals in the Arctic, which includes parts of Alaska, Canada, Russia, Siberia, Scandinavia and Greenland.


“What really makes the Arctic different from the rest of the non-polar world is the permanent ice in the ground, in the ocean and on land,” said lead author University of Arizona geoscientist Jonathan T. Overpeck. “We see all of that ice melting already, and we envision that it will melt back much more dramatically in the future as we move towards this more permanent ice-free state.”


The report by Overpeck and his colleagues is published in the Aug. 23, 2005 issue of Eos, the weekly newspaper of the American Geophysical Union.


The report is the result of weeklong meeting of a team of interdisciplinary scientists who examined how the Arctic environment and climate interact and how that system would respond as global temperatures rise. The workshop was organized by the NSF Arctic System Science Committee, which is chaired by Overpeck. The National Science Foundation funded the meeting.


In addition to sea and land ice melting, Overpeck warned that permafrost—the permanently frozen layer of soil that underlies much of the Arctic—will melt and eventually disappear in some areas. Such thawing could release additional greenhouse gases stored in the permafrost for thousands of years, which would amplify human-induced climate change. Overpeck said humans could step on the brakes by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.


For more information, see:






AEP Extends Participation in

Chicago Climate Exchange

American Electric Power announced in August that it will expand and extend its commitment to voluntarily reduce, avoid or sequester its greenhouse gas emissions through 2010, and will continue its membership in the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). CCX is the first voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction and trading program in North America.


As a founding member of CCX, AEP committed in 2003 to reduce or offset its greenhouse gas emissions by 1 percent in 2003, 2 percent in 2004, 3 percent in 2005 and 4 percent in 2006 below a baseline average of 1998 to 2001 emission levels. AEP’s commitment to Phase II of CCX extends its greenhouse gas reduction commitment ultimately to 6 percent below the same baseline by 2010 (4.25 percent in 2007, 4.5 percent in 2008, 5 percent in 2009 and 6 percent in 2010).


With this new commitment, AEP expects to reduce or offset approximately 46 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions between 2003 and the end of the decade.


For details, see:






UPCOMING CONFERENCES (all dates are 2005 unless otherwise noted)


September 26-30

7th International CO2 Conference

Broomfield, CO

For more information:



November 13-17

Greenhouse 2005: Action on Climate Control

Melbourne, Australia

For more information: 

Contact: Paul Holper



January 22-25, 2006

9th Annual Electric Utilities Environmental Conference

Impending Carbon Regulations, Impacts, and Mitigation Strategies

Tucson, AZ

For more information:






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