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Worldwide nitrogen deficit constrains carbon dioxide uptake by plants

Posted by [email protected] on March 14, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants; limits on available nitrogen constrain how much plants can grow. This in turn affects the amount of carbon dioxide plants can absorb, which affects the global climate.

Using a framework that considers interactions of carbon and nutrients, Wang and Houlton have developed a new global estimate of nitrogen fixation rates.

The authors considered the amount of nitrogen plants require to store additional carbon and found that a substantial deficit of nitrogen exists for plants in most areas of the world. They argue that most climate models that do not take into account nitrogen have overestimated carbon uptake and therefore underestimated predicted global warming.

The authors suggest that it is important that the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change consider interactions between the nitrogen and carbon cycles.

The research appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Authors include Ying-Ping Wang, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research and CAWCR; Benjamin Z. Houlton, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis.

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1 Comment

Reply anonymous
2:19 AM on March 19, 2014 
Megafauna & P

Pleistocene megafauna extinctions resulted in large and ongoing disruptions to terrestrial biogeochemical cycling at continental scales
limiting nutrient phosphorus by more than 98%
The legacy of the Pleistocene megafauna extinctions on nutrient availability in Amazonia
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n9/full/ngeo1895.html?WT.ec
_id=NGEO-201309



The YD onset was one of the most robust intervals of biomass burning inferred from the Greenland ice cores, loss of the megafauna added insult to injury to NPP,
We, as the default New Megafauna, are not doing our job. We have the abilities to bio-mimic the eco-services of 600 Lb Beavers, to recycle P, to build soil-C for biosphereic stability.

Cheers,
Erich