Nitrous oxide emissions and isotopic composition in urban and agricultural systems in southern California

Amy Townsend-Small, Diane E. Pataki, Claudia I. Czimczik, Stanley C. Tyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas increasing in atmospheric mixing ratio and linked to increasing amounts of reactive N in the environment, particularly fertilizer use in agriculture. The consequences of urbanization of agricultural land for global and regional N2O emissions are unclear, due to high spatial and temporal variability of fluxes from different ecosystems and relatively few studies of urban ecosystems. We measured fluxes and the stable isotope composition (δ15N and δ18O) of N2O over 1 year in urban (ornamental lawns and athletic fields) and agricultural (corn and vegetable fields) ecosystems near Los Angeles, California, United States. We found that urban landscapes (lawns and athletic fields) have annual N2O fluxes equal to or greater than agricultural fields. Fertilization rates of urban landscapes were equal to or greater than agricultural fields, with comparable N2O emissions factors. δ15N and δ18O of N 2O varied widely in all ecosystems, and were not consistent with ecosystem type, season, soil moisture, or temperature. There was, however, a consistent response of δ15N-N2O to pulses of N 2O emission following fertilization, with an initial depletion in δ15N relative to prefertilization values, then gradual enrichment to background values within about 1 week. Preliminary scaling calculations indicated that N2O emissions from urban landscapes are approximately equal to or greater than agricultural emissions in urbanized areas of southern California, which further implies that current estimates of regional N2O emissions (based on agricultural land area) may be too low.

LanguageEnglish
Article numberG01013
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Volume116
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Southern California
nitrous oxides
urban system
Nitrous Oxide
nitrous oxide
farming system
Ecosystems
ecosystems
isotopic composition
Chemical analysis
fertilization
ecosystem
Fluxes
agricultural land
agricultural emission
athletic fields
urban ecosystem
mixing ratio
soil temperature
vegetable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Forestry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Palaeontology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

Cite this

Nitrous oxide emissions and isotopic composition in urban and agricultural systems in southern California. / Townsend-Small, Amy; Pataki, Diane E.; Czimczik, Claudia I.; Tyler, Stanley C.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Vol. 116, No. 1, G01013, 2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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