• carbon storage;
  • U.S. Great Plains;
  • assessment;
  • carbon sink;
  • USGS;
  • Landsat

A new assessment of carbon storage in the U.S. Great Plains region helps to improve the understanding of carbon and greenhouse gas fluxes in parts of 14 states. It is the first of a series of such assessments, with the entire national assessment set for completion around 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced at a 6 December press briefing at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. The assessment, based on measured and observed data collected by USGS from Landsat and other sources, also indicates the value of the troubled Landsat satellites, according to USGS director Marcia McNutt. The assessment of the 2.17-million-square-kilometer region of the country, which contains a number of different ecosystems, examines carbon storage as well as carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide fluxes in all terrestrial ecosystems in the region during a baseline period. Projections of these fluxes also were extended to 2050. The report was carried out to fulfill a section of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.