A gap in nitrous oxide emission reporting complicates long-term climate mitigation

Del Grosso, S.J., Ogle, S.M., Nevison, C., Gurung, R., Parton, W.J., Wagner-Riddle, C., Smith, W., Winiwarter, W. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7131-1496, et al. (2022). A gap in nitrous oxide emission reporting complicates long-term climate mitigation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119 (31) e2200354119. 10.1073/pnas.2200354119.

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Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important greenhouse gas (GHG) that also contributes to depletion of ozone in the stratosphere. Agricultural soils account for about 60% of anthropogenic N2O emissions. Most national GHG reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change assumes nitrogen (N) additions drive emissions during the growing season, but soil freezing and thawing during spring is also an important driver in cold climates. We show that both atmospheric inversions and newly implemented bottom-up modeling approaches exhibit large N2O pulses in the northcentral region of the United States during early spring and this increases annual N2O emissions from croplands and grasslands reported in the national GHG inventory by 6 to 16%. Considering this, emission accounting in cold climate regions is very likely underestimated in most national reporting frameworks. Current commitments related to the Paris Agreement and COP26 emphasize reductions of carbon compounds. Assuming these targets are met, the importance of accurately accounting and mitigating N2O increases once CO2 and CH4 are phased out. Hence, the N2O emission underestimate introduces additional risks into meeting long-term climate goals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: GHG accounting; N cycling; ecosystem modeling; soil N2O
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Pollution Management (PM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2022 09:20
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2022 09:20
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/18129

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