While the agriculture, forestry, and other land-use sector generates about a quarter of global emissions, it can play a critical role in climate change mitigation through land-based carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration. A global network of flux stations will play a key role in facilitating this process at scale.
Food & beverage companies are committing to climate goals and testing agricultural interventions along their supply chains. But understanding the impact of these interventions on land-based CO2 emissions and sequestration is notoriously difficult, especially when supply chains are global and fragmented. Comprehensive, on-site measurements are expensive and can’t feasibly occur frequently enough. Self-reported data is biased. And industry averages don’t account for local variations.
So how do you measure the impact of agricultural practices on land-based CO2 emissions and sequestration along a global supply chain, in an accurate and cost-effective manner? There’s a global network of stations that can help.
For the past 40 years, flux stations have made continuous, direct measurements of the flux (e.g., emissions and sequestration rates) of CO2, water vapor, methane, heat, and more between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems in climate zones and biomes all over the world. Flux stations are one of the best, most direct tools we have for addressing the current climate crisis and scaling the agrifood industry’s climate mitigation efforts.Why are flux stations so great?
Before getting into the details of how they work, you should first know why they matter. Flux stations can help inform climate-smart agriculture practices and ensure success for nature-based CO2 removal solutions for a few key reasons:Direct Measurements
- The ability to make measurements in situ without disturbing the ecosystem is a huge advantage.1
- The measurements collected from stations are reviewed by teams of researchers who process and analyze the data before submitting it to the global database.1
- Direct ecosystem measurements mean the use of emission factors and other industry averages and proxies is not necessary, so you end up with primary data.
High Temporal Resolution
- Decades of measurements help us understand how an ecosystem is responding over time to climate change.
- Historical data helps us quantify the effects of new practices and interventions on the land as compared to the past.
Diversity of Data
- With continuous monitoring, we understand both daily and seasonal CO2 flux, which is crucial in arriving at the total CO2 balance of the ecosystem.
- With over 2,000 stations across the world (Figure 1), relevant flux data is available for projects near globally.
- Stations are located in grasslands, croplands, wetlands, forests, and other land cover types.