Spatially explicit estimates of N2O emissions from croplands suggest climate mitigation opportunities from improved fertilizer management

Gerber JS, Carlson KM, Makowski D, Mueller ND, Garcia de Cortazar-Atauri I, Havlik P, Herrero M, Launay M, et al. (2016). Spatially explicit estimates of N2O emissions from croplands suggest climate mitigation opportunities from improved fertilizer management. Global Change Biology 22 (10): 3383-3394. DOI:10.1111/gcb.13341.

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Abstract

With increasing nitrogen (N) application to croplands required to support growing food demand, mitigating N2O emissions from agricultural soils is a global challenge. National greenhouse gas emissions accounting typically estimates N2O emissions at the country scale by aggregating all crops, under the assumption that N2O emissions are linearly related to N application. However, field studies and meta-analyses indicate a nonlinear relationship, in which N2O emissions are relatively greater at higher N application rates. Here we apply a super-linear emissions response model to crop-specific, spatially-explicit synthetic N fertilizer and manure N inputs to provide subnational accounting of global N2O emissions from croplands. We estimate 0.66 Tg of N2O-N direct global emissions circa 2000, with 50% of emissions concentrated in 13% of harvested area. Compared to estimates from the IPCC Tier 1 linear model, our updated N2O emissions range from 20-40% lower throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe, to >120% greater in some Western European countries. At low N application rates, the weak non-linear response of N2O emissions suggests that relatively large increases in N fertilizer application would generate relatively small increases in N2O emissions. Since aggregated fertilizer data generate underestimation bias in nonlinear models, high-resolution N application data are critical to support accurate N2O emissions estimates.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Depositing User: Romeo Molina
Date Deposited: 17 May 2016 09:44
Last Modified: 17 May 2017 03:00
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/13215

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