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Global Change & Climate

Cornell University Project Aims to Quantify Black Carbon Stocks

Black Carbon, the refractory, solid residue of combustion, is a quantitatively important component of organic matter in sediments and soils. With NIFA funding, Cornell University scientists are conducting research to quantify the Black Carbon stocks in soils throughout the United States. The Cornell project addresses a major uncertainty in the nature of U.S. carbon stocks across a range of climates, land uses, and landscape features.  It will significantly advance the understanding of the Black Carbon stocks and cycling of all organic carbon in soils. The strength of this research is the union of a new, well-grounded technique for rapid assessment of soil Black Carbon, namely mid-infrared spectroscopy, with large sample sets of soil obtained from several archives and collected from the National Science Foundation’s network of Long-Term Ecological Research sites that cover a wide variety of land use, climate, vegetation types, and soils across the U.S.


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