Berkeley Lab Develops New Way to Monitor Soil Carbon

The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) developed a new, non-destructive method for finding carbon stored in the soil by plants and microbes. According to a press release, this new method for measuring carbon pulled out of the air promises to be an important tool for fighting climate change and developing more ecologically friendly forms of agriculture. The new method uses a device that scans the soil with a beam of neutrons that react to carbon and other elements in the soil, mapping the distribution of different elements to a resolution of about five centimeters. The method can be used repeatedly over the growing season to evaluate the effectiveness of different land-management practices.