Methane emissions from rice paddies globally: A quantitative statistical review of controlling variables and modelling of emission factors

Marte Nikolaisen*, Thomas Cornulier, Jonathan Hillier, Pete Smith, Fabrizio Albanito, Dali Nayak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Greenhouse gas (GHG) modelling tools or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) inventory methods are often used to identify suitable mitigation strategies for GHG emissions from rice, since measuring them in field is challenging and costly. Here we report an up-to-date quantitative review on methane (CH4) emission from rice paddies using information obtained from peer-review articles. Statistical analysis was conducted on the factors controlling CH4 emissions and a generalised additive model (GAM) was developed to estimate emission factors (EFs). Results showed that emissions were strongly linked to water regime, soil texture and organic amendment practices. Fields that were rainfed during the dry season or saturated emitted 70% and 56% that of continuously flooded fields, while applying straw off-season instead of within-season could decrease emissions by 48%. An independent dataset was used to evaluate the new model performance against existing models with the new model showing R2 values of 0.47 (n: 169), compared to 0.01–0.09 (n: 169) for the existing models. New baseline EFs was estimated at global, regional, and Country scale with result showing that using different pre-season water management when calculating baseline EFs at country level is vital in order to reflect the variation between tropical and temperate rice regions accurately. Our findings shows that the new model is more sensitive in capturing differences in management practices between tropical and temperate rice, and their impacts on CH4 emissions with baseline EF calculations accounting for these differences providing sound mitigation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137245
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date20 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Kellogg's and the University of Aberdeen . We are grateful for the help and advice from modellers, stakeholders, the cool farm alliance (CFA) and those who by their publications on GHG emissions from rice paddies have made this work possible. Special thanks to the cool farm alliance, stakeholders, experts, and modellers who have helped us improve our understanding and guided us in the right direction when needed given the Covid pandemic restrictions, making project engagement between those involved limited to online engagement.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Emission factors
  • Generalised additive model
  • Greenhouse gas emission
  • Methane
  • Rice


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