Skip to main content

NCSA Supercomputers Aid in Fighting Climate Change

Corn growing on a farm

A team of researchers at the Agroecosystem Sustainability Center (ASC) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been working to make it easier to calculate carbon credits for farmers. ASC was founded by NCSA and Center for Digital Agriculture affiliate Kaiyu Guan. A significant component of their mission is to achieve co-sustainability of environment quality and food security. To meet that goal, ASC has effectively used supercomputing resources at NCSA to run a complex agroecosystem model on ecosys to track soil organic carbon in U.S. Midwest farmlands.

The results of ASC’s work have been published in the journal Geoderma. In their paper, How does uncertainty of soil organic carbon stock affect the calculation of carbon budgets and soil carbon credits for croplands in the U.S. Midwest?, the authors discuss the various ways their results could be used to help simplify the process for calculating soil carbon credits.

Portrait of Kaiyu Guan

This is a very important study that reveals counter-intuitive findings. Initial soil carbon data is very important for all the downstream carbon budget calculation. However, carbon credit measures the relative soil carbon difference between a new practice and a business-as-usual scenario. We find that the uncertainty of initial soil carbon data has limited impacts on the final calculated soil carbon credit.

Kaiyu Guan, associate professor, Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, UIUC

Soil carbon credits are an essential component in mitigating climate change. These credits incentivize conservation and reward farmers when they utilize climate-friendly techniques such as crop rotation and cover crops.

You can read more about this PHYS.ORG story here: Research could simplify process for calculating soil carbon credits. Watch the video below for more information on ASC.

Back to top