Through his work on the Konza Prairie Biological Station and other local streams, Walter Dodds, university distinguished professor of biology, helped demonstrate that nitrous oxide emissions from rivers and streams make up at least 10 percent of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions -- three times greater than current estimates by the climate change panel.
"This research deals with two important issues," Dodds said. "First, nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas. Second, nitrous oxide also destroys ozone in the upper atmosphere, exposing us to more ultra violet radiation."
The research, "Nitrous oxide emission from denitrification in stream and river networks," appears in this week's Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For the article, researchers from 23 institutions -- including K-State -- measured nitrous oxide production in 72 streams that drain native, urban or agricultural lands. Nine of those streams were in the Manhattan area, with three at Konza.
The level of nitrous oxide in streams and rivers is related to human activities that can release nitrogen into the environment, such as sewage runoff or crop fertilization. When this nitrogen reaches rivers and streams, it undergoes denitrification, a microbial process that converts nitrogren to nitrous oxide gas, called N2O, and an inert gas called dinitrogen, or N2.
As a greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide has global warming potential that is 300-fold greater than carbon dioxide. In the past century, concentration of atmospheric nitrous oxide has increased 20 percent, making it a strong contributor to climate change and ozone destruction.
"We show that river networks play an important role in how human nitrogen additions for crops influence the global environment," Dodds said.
The findings can lead to more effective mitigation strategies, Dodds said. Researchers suggest that nitrous oxide emissions can be reduced from river networks by changing agricultural and urban land-use practices, such as better management practices for fertilizers. By decreasing nitrogen input to watersheds, the production of nitrous oxide also diminishes.
Jake Beaulieu of the Environmental Protection Agency is the lead author of the paper, produced as part of a project headed by Patrick Mulholland of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. From 2005 to 2007 the team received $3 million from the National Science Foundation to investigate nitrogen pollution in streams. K-State received $320,000 of the grant.
Walter Dodds | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences