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ECN publication
Reactive nitrogen in the environment and its effect on climate change
Erisman, J.W.; Galloway, J.; Seitzinger, S.; Bleeker, A.; Butterbach-Bahl, K.
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Biomass, Coal and Environmental Research 28-9-2011
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-W--11-039 Article (scientific)
Number of pages:

Humans have doubled levels of reactive nitrogen in circulation, largely as a result of fertilizer application and fossil fuel burning. This massive alteration of the nitrogen cycle affects climate, food security, energy security, human health and ecosystem services. Our estimates show that nitrogen currently leads to a net-cooling effect on climate with very high uncertainty. The many complex warming and cooling interactions between nitrogen and climate need to be better assessed, taking also into account the other effects of nitrogen on human health, environment and ecosystem services. Through improved nitrogen management substantial reductions in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations could be generated, also allowing for other co-benefits, including improving human health and improved provision of ecosystem services, for example clean air and water, and biodiversity.

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