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COMET-Global: Whole-farm GHG estimation and environmental diagnostics platform (coordinated by the Colorado State University, USA, with 6 partners)

Keith Paustian (coordinator)


Access to reliable and readily available estimates of the consequence of different land use and
management practices on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a prerequisite for successful
implementation of land use-based GHG mitigation strategies. Moreover, this information is needed at the level at which management decisions are actually made – at the field scale – and thus information systems must be: 1) easily and universally available, 2) usable by non-experts, 3) employ state-of-the-art technology and 4) be easily aggregated to larger scales.
Our overall project aim is to develop and deploy a state-of-the-art system for full greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting, operational at the scale of an individual entity (e.g., farm, livestock
operation). The system will be web-based, free and accessible by anyone having an internet
connection. Key attributes of the system will include: 1) use of advance methods, including
well-validated process-based models that are run in real-time at high spatial resolution, using
site-specific data on soil properties, climate and land use and management practices; 2) flexibility, so that users can select, were appropriate, country-specific methods and emission parameters; 3) user-friendly design, making it possible for land managers and others, without specialized knowledge of GHG emission processes to use the system, in their native language; and 4) information on uncertainty, based on robust statistical methods. An important goal of the consortium will be to disseminate and promote the uptake of the COMET-Global system, including engagement and outreach to farmer organizations, environmental groups, governmental agencies and other stakeholders in each of the partner countries, as well as other researchers working on GHG mitigation in the land use sector.
The proposed project directly addresses Themes and Topics described in the FACCEJPI Call
Announcement, specifically Themes 1 (Improved GHG methodologies) and 2 (Study of mitigation options), with the focus being at the individual farm-scale. It also address Topic 1 (GHG emission from agricultural sources) and Topic 2 (GHG removals), by virtue of providing a full GHG analysis at the farm-scale. Further, the consortium objectives align well with objectives in the Global Research Alliance towards harmonized methods for GHG emission estimation and to activities elsewhere within FACCEJPI (e.g. MACSUR), as well as the national priorities relating to GHG mitigation in each of the partner countries.
The system development will leverage an existing comprehensive web-based tool, COMET-Farm, operational in the US. In addition to implementing spatial data (climate, soil, land management) and country-specific emission factors and methods for non-soil GHG emissions, two widely used process-based models, RothC and ECOSSE, will be incorporated along with the DayCent model for estimating soil GHG emissions. The user interface will be provided with multi-lingual capabilities (English, French, Spanish, German and Italian) to provide maximum convenience on the part of a multinational user community.