Uncertainty In Greenhouse Gas Emissions On Carbon Sequestration In Coastal and Freshwater Wetlands of the Mississippi River Delta: A Subsiding Coastline as a Proxy for Future Global Sea Level

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 9:15 AM
John R White1, Ronald D DeLaune1, Eric Roy1 and Ron Corstanje2, (1)Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, United States, (2)Cranfield University, Cranfield, United Kingdom
The highly visible phenomenon of wetland loss in coastal Louisiana (LA) is examined through the prism of carbon accumulation, wetland loss and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Mississippi River Deltaic region experiences higher relative sea level rise due to coupled subsidence and eustatic sea level rise allowing this region to serve as a proxy for future projected golbal sea level rise. Carbon storage or sequestration in rapidly subsiding LA coastal marsh soils is based on vertical marsh accretion and areal change data. While coastal marshes sequester significant amount of carbon through vertical accretion, large amounts of carbon, previously sequested in the soil profile is lost through annual deterioration of these coastal marshes as well as through GHG emissions. Efforts are underway in Louisiana to access the carbon credit market in order to provide significant funding for coastal restoration projects. However, there is very large uncertainty on GHG emission rates related to both marsh type and temporal (daily and seasonal) effects. Very little data currently exists which addresses this uncertainty which can significantly affect the carbon credit value of a particular wetland system. We provide an analysis of GHG emission rates for coastal freshwater, brackish and and salt marshes compared to the net soil carbon sequestration rate. Results demonstrate that there is very high uncertainty on GHG emissions which can substantially alter the carbon credit value of a particular wetland system.