Hydrological Sensitivity of Land Use Scenarios for Climate Mitigation
Friday, 19 December 2014: 10:35 AM
Bringing atmospheric concentration to 550 ppm CO2 or below by 2100 will require large-scale changes to global and national energy systems, and potentially the use of land (IPCC, 2013) The Danish government aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 40 % in 1990-2020 and energy consumption to be based on 100 % renewable energy by 2035. By 2050, GHG emissions should be reduced by 80-95 %. Strategies developed to reach these goals require land use change to increase the production of biomass for bioenergy, further use of catch crops, reduced nitrogen inputs in agriculture, reduced soil tillage, afforestation and establishment of permanent grass fields. Currently, solar radiation in the growing season is not fully exploited, and it is expected that biomass production for bioenergy can be supported without reductions in food and fodder production. Impacts of climate change on the hydrological sensitivity of biomass growth and soil carbon storage are however not known. The present study evaluates the hydrological sensitivity of Danish land use options for climate mitigation in terms of crop yields (including straw for bioenergy) and net CO2 exchange for wheat, barley, maize and clover under current and future climate conditions. Hydrological sensitivity was evaluated using the agrohydrological model Daisy. Simulations during current climate conditions were in good agreement with measured dry matter, crop nitrogen content and eddy covariance fluxes of water vapour and CO2. Climate scenarios from the European ENSEMBLES database were downscaled for simulating water, nitrogen and carbon balance for 2071-2100. The biomass potential generally increase, but water stress also increases in strength and extends over a longer period, thereby increasing sensitivity to water availability. The potential of different land use scenarios to maximize vegetation cover and biomass for climate mitigation is further discussed in relation to impacts on the energy- and water balance.