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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-386
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-386
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 09 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 09 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Impacts of Enhanced Weathering on biomass production for negative emission technologies and soil hydrology

Wagner de Oliveira Garcia1, Thorben Amann1, Jens Hartmann1, Kristine Karstens2, Alexander Popp2, Lena R. Boysen3, Pete Smith4, and Daniel Goll5,6 Wagner de Oliveira Garcia et al.
  • 1Institute for Geology, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability, Universität Hamburg, Germany
  • 2Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany
  • 4Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen
  • 5Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, CEA CNRS UVSQ, 91190 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 6Institute of Geography, University Augsburg, Germany

Abstract. Limiting global mean temperature changes to well below 2 °C likely requires a rapid and large-scale deployment of Negative Emission Technologies (NETs). Assessments so far showed a high potential for biomass based terrestrial NETs, but only few included effects of the commonly found nutrient deficient soils on biomass production. Here, we investigate the deployment of Enhanced Weathering (EW) to supply nutrients to phosphorus (P) deficient areas of Afforestation/Reforestation and naturally growing forests (AR) and bio-energy grasses (BG), besides the impacts on soil hydrology. Using stoichiometric ratios and biomass estimates from two established vegetation models, we calculated the nutrient demand of AR and BG. By comparing the inferred AR P demand to different geogenic P supply scenarios, we estimated that 3–98 Gt C of the predicted biomass accumulation cannot be realized due to insufficient soil P supply for an AR scenario considering natural N supply. An amount of 2–362 Gt basalt powder applied by EW would be needed to cover P gaps and completely sequester projected amounts of 190 Gt C during years 2006–2099. The potential carbon sequestration by EW is 0.6–97.8 Gt CO2 for the same scenario. For BG, 8 kg basalt m−2 a−1 might, on average, replenish the exported K and P by harvest. Using pedotransfer functions, we show that the impacts of basalt powder application on soil hydraulic conductivity and plant available water, for closing predicted P gaps, would depend on basalt and soil texture, but in general the impacts are marginal. We show that EW could potentially close the projected P gaps of an AR scenario, and exported nutrients by BG harvest, which would decrease or replace the use of industrial fertilizers. Besides that, EW ameliorates soil capacity to retain nutrients, soil pH, and renew soil nutrient pools. Last, EW applications could improve plant available water capacity depending on deployed amounts of rock powder – adding a new dimension to the coupling of land-based biomass NETs with EW.

Wagner de Oliveira Garcia et al.
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Wagner de Oliveira Garcia et al.
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Short summary
Biomass based terrestrial Negative Emission Technologies (tNETS) have a high potential to sequester CO2. Many CO2 uptake estimates do not include the effect of nutrient deficiencies in soils on biomass production. We show that nutrients can be partly resupplied by Enhanced Weathering (EW) rock powder application, enabling the full potential of tNETs. Depending on the deployed amounts of rock powder, EW could also improve soil hydrology, adding a new dimension to the coupling of tNETs with EW.
Biomass based terrestrial Negative Emission Technologies (tNETS) have a high potential to...
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