Methane Emissions From Global Paddy Rice Agriculture - a New Estimate Based on DNDC Model Simulations


Roughly one-quarter of global methane emissions to the atmosphere come from the agricultural sector. Agricultural emissions are dominated by livestock (ruminants) and paddy-rice agriculture. We report on a new estimate of global methane emissions from paddy rice c.2010, based on DNDC model simulations of rice cropping around the world. We first generated a global map of rice cropping at 0.5°-resolution, based on existing global crop maps and various other published data. For each 0.5° grid cell that has rice agriculture, we simulated all rice cropping systems that our mapping indicated to be occurring there - irrigated and/or rainfed; single-rice, double-rice, triple-rice, and/or rice-rotated with other upland crops - under local climate and soil conditions, with assumptions about crop management (e.g., fertilizer type and amount, irrigation, flooding frequency and duration, manure application, tillage, crop residue management). We estimate global paddy rice emissions at 23 Tg CH4/yr from 120 Mha of rice paddies (land area) and 160 Mha of rice cropping (harvested area) for the baseline management scenario. We also report on the spatial distribution of these emissions, and the impacts of various management alternatives (flooding methods, fertilizer types, crop residue incorporation etc.) on yield, soil carbon sequestration and emissions of methane and nitrous oxide. For example, simulations with continuous flooding on all paddies increased simulated global paddy rice emissions to 33 Tg CH4/yr, while simulations where all fertilizer was applied as ammonium sulfate reduced simulated global paddy rice emissions to about 19 Tg CH4/yr. Simulated global paddy rice yield was about 320 Tg C in grain.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union (AGU)


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding