Our understanding and quantification of global soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and the underlying processes remain largely uncertain. Here, we assessed the effects of multiple anthropogenic and natural factors, including nitrogen fertilizer (N) application, atmospheric N deposition, manure N application, land cover change, climate change, and rising atmospheric CO2concentration, on global soil N2O emissions for the period 1861–2016 using a standard simulation protocol with seven process‐based terrestrial biosphere models. Results suggest global soil N2O emissions have increased from 6.3 ± 1.1 Tg N2O‐N/year in the preindustrial period (the 1860s) to 10.0 ± 2.0 Tg N2O‐N/year in the recent decade (2007–2016). Cropland soil emissions increased from 0.3 Tg N2O‐N/year to 3.3 Tg N2O‐N/year over the same period, accounting for 82% of the total increase. Regionally, China, South Asia, and Southeast Asia underwent rapid increases in cropland N2O emissions since the 1970s. However, US cropland N2O emissions had been relatively flat in magnitude since the 1980s, and EU cropland N2O emissions appear to have decreased by 14%. Soil N2O emissions from predominantly natural ecosystems accounted for 67% of the global soil emissions in the recent decade but showed only a relatively small increase of 0.7 ± 0.5 Tg N2O‐N/year (11%) since the 1860s. In the recent decade, N fertilizer application, N deposition, manure N application, and climate change contributed 54%, 26%, 15%, and 24%, respectively, to the total increase. Rising atmospheric CO2concentration reduced soil N2O emissions by 10% through the enhanced plant N uptake, while land cover change played a minor role. Our estimation here does not account for indirect emissions from soils and the directed emissions from excreta of grazing livestock. To address uncertainties in estimating regional and global soil N2O emissions, this study recommends several critical strategies for improving the process‐based simulations.
China’s terrestrial ecosystems play a pronounced role in the global carbon cycle. Here we combine spatially-explicit information on vegetation, soil, topography, climate and land use change with a process-based biogeochemistry model to quantify the responses of terrestrial carbon cycle in China during the 20th century.
At a century scale, China’s terrestrial ecosystems have acted as a carbon sink averaging at 96 Tg C yr− 1, with large inter-annual and decadal variabilities. The regional sink has been enhanced due to the rising temperature and CO2concentration, with a slight increase trend in carbon sink strength along with the enhanced net primary production in the century. The areas characterized by C source are simulated to extend in the west and north of the Hu Huanyong line, while the eastern and southern regions increase their area and intensity of C sink, particularly in the late 20th century. Forest ecosystems dominate the C sink in China and are responsible for about 64% of the total sink. On the century scale, the increase in carbon sinks in China’s terrestrial ecosystems is mainly contributed by rising CO2. Afforestation and reforestation promote an increase in terrestrial carbon uptake in China from 1950s. Although climate change has generally contributed to the increase of carbon sinks in terrestrial ecosystems in China, the positive effect of climate change has been diminishing in the last decades of the 20th century.
This study focuses on the impacts of climate, CO2and land use change on the carbon cycle, and presents the potential trends of terrestrial ecosystem carbon balance in China at a century scale. While a slight increase in carbon sink strength benefits from the enhanced vegetation carbon uptake in China’s terrestrial ecosystems during the 20th century, the increase trend may diminish or even change to a decrease trend under future climate change.
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Springer Science + Business Media
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Carbon Balance and Management
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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