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Greenhouse gas balances in coastal ecosystems: Current challenges in “blue carbon” estimation and significance to national greenhouse gas inventories

May 21, 2022

Coastal wetlands are defined herein as inundated, vegetated ecosystems with hydrology, and biogeochemistry influenced by sea levels, at timescales of tides to millennia. Coastal wetlands are necessary components of global greenhouse gas estimation and scenario modeling, both for continental and oceanic mass balances. The carbon pools and fluxes on coastal lands, especially those influenced by tidal drivers and sea level rise, are distinct in their magnitude, rates, and uncertainties. We describe herein the pathways taken for a US scale estimation of blue carbon based on annual timesteps and bottom-up modeling, as appropriate for the first effort to include coastal wetlands in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines for a National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (NGGI). As such, we summarize multiple efforts to reconcile mapping, modeling, and measurement issues and we report the assumptions we made based on data availability. Provided as requested feedback to the IPCC.

Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) evaluation of guidance criteria, these analyses synergistically point scientists, practitioners, and policy makers toward the greatest uncertainties to address in future assessments: coastal wetland methane emissions and carbon dioxide emissions associated with the fate of eroded soil. This is a story of what was learned in the 2014–2018 NASA Carbon Monitoring System project (https://carbon.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/cms_projects.pl), how it informs “good practice” (IPCC 2006) in reporting coastal wetland emissions and removals, and where it points scientifically toward data needs at different temporal and spatial scales.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Greenhouse gas balances in coastal ecosystems: Current challenges in “blue carbon” estimation and significance to national greenhouse gas inventories
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-814952-2.00001-0
Authors Lisamarie Windham-Myers, James R. Holmquist, Kevin D. Kroeger, Tiffany G. Troxler
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70227789
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization WMA - Earth System Processes Division