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A synthesis of nitric oxide emissions across global fertilized croplands from crop-specific emission factors

Citation

Wang, Yan et al. (2022), A synthesis of nitric oxide emissions across global fertilized croplands from crop-specific emission factors, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fj6q573x9

Abstract

Nitrogen (N)-fertilizer application to agricultural soils results in substantial emissions of nitric oxide (NO), a key substance in tropospheric chemistry involved in climate forcing and air pollution. However, estimates of global cropland NO emissions remain uncertain due to a lack of information on direct NO emission factors (EFds) of applied N for variours cropping systems at seasonal or annual scales. Here we quantified the crop-specific seasonal and annual-scale NO EFds through synthesizing 1094 measurements from 125 field-based studies worldwide. The global mean crop-specific seasonal EFd was 0.53%, with the highest for vegetables (0.75%). Among cereal crops, the EFd of maize (0.45%) or wheat (0.47%) was about three-times higher than for rice (0.12%). At annual scale, the mean EFd across all cropping systems was 0.58%, with tea plantations having the highest (1.54%). For other cropping systems, the annual-scale EFds ranged from 0.02% to 1.07%. Besides crop type, also soil organic carbon, total N and pH as well as N fertilizer type were the main factors explaining the variations of NO EFds. Based on obtained specific EFds for each crop type, we estimated that NO emissions due to the use of synthetic fertilizers from global croplands are about 0.42–0.62 Tg N yr−1. Our budgets are relatively lower if compared to estimates derived by the use of IPCC defaults for NO emissions (0.72–1.66 Tg N yr−1) or reported elsewhere (0.67–1.04 Tg N yr−1). In our estimates, cash crops (vegetable, tea and orchard), which cover only 9% of the world cropland area, contributed about 31% to total NO emissions from global fertilized croplands. Overall, our meta-analysis provides improved crop-specific NO EFds reflecting current stage of knowledge. The work also highlights the relative importance of cash crop production as sources for atmospheric NO, i.e., agricultural systems on which mitigation efforts may focus.

Funding