Helping farmers around the globe to apply more precise amounts of fertilizer nitrogen can combat climate change, according to a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Part 15 of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Discovery Series focuses on the study, "Global metaanalysis of the nonlinear response of soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions to fertilizer nitrogen", which was based on the work of the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network researchers based at Michigan State University and led by Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) LTER director, Philip G. Robertson.
The KBS LTER study used data from around the world to show that emissions of N2O, a greenhouse gas produced in soil following nitrogen addition, rise faster than previously expected when fertilizer rates exceed crop needs and provides an improved prediction of nitrogen fertilizer's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural fields.
For more information see "How much fertilizer is too much for Earth's Climate?" at http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=131642&org=NSF