Australian carbon dust emission: a carbon accounting omission?

TitleAustralian carbon dust emission: a carbon accounting omission?
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsChappell A., Webb N, Butler H, Strong C, McTainish G, Leys J
Conference NameJoint Australian and New Zealand Soil Science Conference
VolumeSequestration - Accounting
Date Published12/2012
PublisherAustralian Society of Soil Science Conference
Conference LocationHobart Tasmania
ARIS Log Number295999

Erosion preferentially removes the finest carbon- and nutrient-rich soil fractions, and consequently its role may be significant within terrestrial carbon (C) cycles. However, the impacts of wind erosion on soil organic carbon redistribution are not considered in most SOC models, or within the Australian national carbon accounting scheme. Although SOC can be redistributed locally by water and wind erosion, dust emission can remove surface SOC from vast areas of inland and agricultural areas of Australia and transport it quickly offshore; representing a net loss of SOC from terrestrial systems. Estimates of the carbon dust emission magnitude require information on the spatial and temporal variation of SOC enrichment in dust emissions (P). We developed a process-based approximation of P within the Computational Environmental Management System (CEMSYS v5) national wind erosion model. It enabled the prediction of carbon dust emissions at a 50 km spatial resolution across Australia every month from 2000–2010. Carbon dust emissions were summed for all months in the study period and across Australia to generate a time series of national carbon dust emissions. The magnitude, frequency and spatial variation of carbon dust emissions and their implications for Australian national carbon accounts will be discussed.