BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Novel Relationship Between Nitrogen and Albedo (Solar Radiation Reflectance) in Forests
Published: December 08, 2008
Posted: January 27, 2009

A positive correlation between the uptake of nitrogen and carbon by leaves has been recognized for some time. However, in a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists report that this relationship also holds for whole forest canopies and that both variables are strongly related to canopy albedo (the fraction of solar radiation that is reflected). This suggests that nitrogen levels in forests can influence Earth's climate in ways that have not previously been recognized. The article reports that forests with high levels of foliar nitrogen reflect more solar radiation and absorb more CO2 than forest with lower nitrogen levels. They also discovered that variation in forest canopy nitrogen can be accurately detected using satellites, making it possible to continuously track these global-scale effects of forests on the Earth's climate system. Significant data for these analyses was provided by DOE-funded AmeriFlux sites.

Reference:  S.V. Ollinger, A.D. Richardson, M.E. Martin, D.Y. Hollinger, S. Frolking, P. B. Reich, L.C. Plourde, G.G. Katul, J.W. Munger, R. Oren, M-L. Smith, K.T. Paw U, P. V. Bolstad, B.D. Cook, M.C. Day, T.A. Martin, R.K. Monson, and H.P. Schmid (2008) Canopy nitrogen, carbon assimilation, and albedo in temperate and boreal forests: Functional relations and potential climate feedbacks. ww.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0810021105

Contact: Mike Kuperberg/Jeff Amthor/Roger Dahlman, SC-23.1, (301) 903-3281
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environment Systems Data Management
  • Research Area: Terrestrial Ecosystem Science
  • Research Area: Carbon Cycle, Nutrient Cycling

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
Objectives

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)