Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 513691
Title Human nitrogen fixation and greenhouse gas emissions: a global assessment
Author(s) Vries, W. de; Du, Enzai; Butterbach-bahl, Klaus; Schulte-Uebbing, L.F.; Dentener, F.
Event 7th International Nitrogen Initiative 2016, Melbourne, 2016-12-04/2016-12-08
Department(s) Alterra - Sustainable soil management
Environmental Systems Analysis Group
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2016
Abstract The net impact of human nitrogen (N) fixation on climate (ignoring short-lived components) mainly depends on the magnitude of the warming effect of (direct and indirect) nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and the cooling effect of N-induced carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake. N-induced CO2 uptake is caused by anthropogenic N deposition which increases net primary production (NPP) in N-limited ecosystems and thus CO2 sequestration. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, however, also induce tropospheric ozone (O3) formation, and elevated O3 concentrations reduce NPP and thus plant C sequestration. We estimated global-scale impacts of anthropogenic N fixation on net greenhouse gas emissions using recent data and modelling approaches with respect to N inputs to various ecosystems, N2O emissions in response to N inputs, and C exchange in responses to N inputs (C–N response) and O3 exposure (C–O3 response). The estimated impact of human N fixation is dominated by an increase in N2O emissions equal to 1.02 (0.89–1.15) Pg CO2-C equivalent (eq) yr-1. CO2 uptake due to N inputs to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems corresponds to net emissions of -0.75 (-0.97 to -0.56) Pg CO2-Ceq yr-1, while the reduction in CO2 uptake by N-induced O3 exposure corresponds to net emissions of 0.14 (0.07–0.21) Pg CO2-Ceq yr-1. Overall, human N fixation causes an increase in net greenhouse gas emissions of 0.41 (-0.01–0.80) Pg CO2-Ceq yr-1. Even considering all uncertainties, it is likely that N inputs lead to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
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