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Nitrous oxide emissions from China's croplands based on regional and crop-specific emission factors deviate from IPCC 2006 estimates

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 13:11 authored by Garba Aliyu, Jiafa LuoJiafa Luo, Hong Di, Stuart LindseyStuart Lindsey, Deyan Liu, Junji Yuan, Zengming Chen, Yongxin Lin, Tiehu He, Mohammad Zaman, Weixin Ding
Calculated N2O emission factors (EFs) of applied nitrogen (N) fertilizer are currently based upon a single, universal value advocated by the IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) even though EFs are thought to vary with climate and soil types. Here, we compiled and analyzed 151 N2O EF values from agricultural fields across China. The EF of synthetic N applied to these croplands was 0.60%, on average, but differed significantly among six climatic zones across the country, with the highest EF found in the north subtropical zone for upland fields (0.93%) and the lowest in the middle subtropical zone for paddy fields (0.20%). Precipitation and soil pH, which showed non-linear relationships with EF, are among the factors governing it, explaining 7.0% and 8.0% of the regional variation in EFs, respectively. Annual precipitation was the key factor regulating N2O emissions from synthetic N fertilizers. Among crop types, legume crops had the highest EFs, which were significantly (P < 0.05) higher than those of cereals. Total soil N2O emissions from fertilized croplands with maize, rice, wheat, and vegetables in China, calculated using the climatic zone (regional) EFs, were estimated to be 239 Gg N yr−1 with an uncertainty of 21%. Importantly, this value was substantially (33%) lower than that (357 Gg N yr−1) derived from the IPCC default EF but close to the 253 Gg N yr−1 estimated using crop-specific EFs. N2O emissions from applied synthetic N fertilizer accounted for 66.5% of the total annual N2O emissions from China's maize, rice, wheat and vegetable fields. Taken together, our study's results strongly suggest that regional EFs should be included for accurate N2O inventories from croplands across China.


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Journal title

Science of the Total Environment




Aliyu, G., Luo, J., Di, H. J., Lindsey, S., Liu, D., Yuan, J., … Ding, W. (2019). Nitrous oxide emissions from China’s croplands based on regional and crop-specific emission factors deviate from IPCC 2006 estimates. Science of the Total Environment, 669, 547–558. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.142

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