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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Nitrous oxide emissions from streams in a Swedish agricultural catchment

Audet, Joachim; Wallin, Marcus B.; Kyllmar, Katarina; Andersson, Stefan; Bishop, Kevin

Abstract

Excess nitrogen fertiliser in agricultural soils might be leached to streams and converted to the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). To assess the importance of N2O emissions from agricultural streams, concentration dynamics and emissions N2O emissions in streams were investigated in a 32 km2 lowland agricultural catchment located in Sweden. Dissolved N2O concentration was measured at nine occasions between December 2014 and August 2015 at nine stream stations. The stream stations represented sub-catchments with different land use characteristics with agricultural land use ranging from 0 to 63% of the area. Stream N2O percentage saturation ranged 40-2701% and showed large spatial and temporal variations. Statistical analysis using mixed models revealed that N2O concentration was significantly linked to nitrate concentration in the stream water, to the percentage arable land in the sub catchments as well as to the stream water discharge. Using two empirical equations to estimate the N2O emissions showed that streams were generally a source of N2O to the atmosphere (mean 108 and 175 mu g N m(-2) h(-1) with first and second equation). The catchment scale estimate of N2O stream emissions was compared to the estimate obtained using IPCC guidelines linking N fertilisation inputs and leaching to N2O emissions. The comparison suggested that N2O stream emission calculated using the IPCC methodology might be underestimated. A coarse estimate suggests that N2O stream emissions represent about 4% of the total N2O emissions from N-fertiliser at the catchment scale. Hence while streams covered only 0.1% of the catchment area they were of disproportionate importance as a source of N2O to the atmosphere. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords

Greenhouse gas; River; Nitrogen pollution

Published in

Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
2017, volume: 236, pages: 295-303

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Uppsala University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Uppsala University

UKÄ Subject classification

Soil Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2016.12.012

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/88160