Biogeophysical impacts of cropland management changes on climate
Article first published online: 23 MAR 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 6, March 2006
How to Cite
2006), Biogeophysical impacts of cropland management changes on climate, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L06708, doi:10.1029/2005GL025492., , and (
- Issue published online: 23 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 23 MAR 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 FEB 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 27 JAN 2006
- Manuscript Received: 14 DEC 2005
 It is well known that expansion of agriculture into natural ecosystems can have important climatic consequences, but changes occurring within existing croplands also have the potential to effect local and global climate. To better understand the impacts of cropland management practices, we used the NCAR CAM3 general circulation model coupled to a slab-ocean model to simulate climate change under extreme scenarios of irrigation, tillage, and crop productivity. Compared to a control scenario, increases in irrigation and leaf area index and reductions in tillage all have a physical cooling effect by causing increases in planetary albedo. The cooling is most pronounced for irrigation, with simulated local cooling up to ∼8°C and global land surface cooling of 1.3°C. Increases in soil albedo through reduced tillage are found to have a global cooling effect (∼0.2°C) comparable to the biogeochemical cooling from reported carbon sequestration potentials. By identifying the impacts of extreme scenarios at local and global scales, this study effectively shows the importance of considering different aspects of crop management in the development of climate models, analysis of observed climate trends, and design of policy intended to mitigate climate change.