This has significant implications for global climate change because the nitrogen causes increased marine biological activity and CO2 uptake, which in turn produces the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N20).
Published in the journal Science on May 16, the research was led by Texas A&M University and the University of East Anglia (UEA).
It has long been known that man is enhancing the global nitrogen cycle through the use of fertilisers in agriculture and the burning of fossil fuels in power stations and cars. The effect of this on the land has been extensively studied. However, this is the first the time its impact on the open ocean has been properly quantified.
“Anyone concerned about climate change will be alarmed at the scale of man’s impact on the world’s oceans, as revealed by our new study,” said Prof Peter Liss, an environmental scientist at the University of East Anglia.
“The natural nitrogen cycle has been very heavily influenced by human activity over the last century – perhaps even more so than the carbon cycle – and we expect the damaging effects to continue to grow. It is vital that policy makers take action now to arrest this.
“The solution lies in controlling the use of nitrogen fertiliser and tackling pollution from the rapidly increasing numbers of cars, particularly in the developing world.”
‘Impacts of atmospheric anthropogenic nitrogen on the open ocean’ is published in Science on May 16. The paper is the culmination of a project involving 30 researchers from the UK, the US, Germany, Italy, China, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada and Chile.
The study found that increasing quantities of atmospheric anthropogenic fixed nitrogen entering the open ocean could account for around one third of the ocean’s external (non-recycled) nitrogen supply and up to three per cent of the annual new marine biological production.
While the increased biological activity has the beneficial effect of drawing down man-made CO2 from the atmosphere, the researchers found that around two-thirds of this is offset by the increase in harmful N20 emissions.
“This fertilization of the ocean by human activities has an important impact on the exchange of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and should be considered in future climate change scenarios,” said Prof Robert Duce of Texas A&M University, lead author of the paper.
Press Office | alfa
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences