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
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine