Nitric oxide emissions from conventional vegetable fields in southeastern China


We conducted multi-year observations of nitric oxide (NO) fluxes from typical vegetable fields in the Yangtze River delta, which is located in southeastern China. Flux measurements were performed manually twice per week at intervals of 2–3 days, in both fertilized and unfertilized fields, over an investigation period of 1448 days (September 2004–August 2008). In total, twelve vegetable-growing periods and a short fallow period were investigated. On average, the NO fluxes from the fertilized plots were 21 times higher than fluxes from the unfertilized plots (p < 0.001). Peak NO emissions usually occurred soon after the addition of nitrogenous fertilizer. Peak emissions took place during about 15% of the whole investigation time, but contributed to approximately 89% of the total NO release. The annual background NO emissions (from fields without nitrogen amendment) were observed at 0.290 ± 0.019 (standard deviation of 3 observations) kg N ha−1. The total amounts of NO emitted during the individual vegetable-growing periods correlated positively and exponentially with the products of seasonal mean soil temperatures and nitrogen addition rates (R2 = 0.87, p < 0.001). The mean direct NO emission factor (EFd, the loss rate of fertilizer nitrogen via NO emissions) for the four-year period was determined to be 0.51% ± 0.11% (standard error of 3 observations). The EFds of individual vegetable-growing seasons ranged from 0.05% to 1.24%, varying linearly and positively with the products of seasonal mean soil temperatures and nitrogen addition rates (R2 = 0.58, p < 0.01). The observed interaction of soil temperature and nitrogen addition on NO emission in seasonal totals and EFds occurred in soils with moisture contents ranging from 55% to 100% water-filled pore space (mean: 79%; standard deviation: 9%). The results of this study indicate that when other conditions remain relatively stable, the direct emission factor, a key parameter for compiling an inventory of NO emissions from vegetable fields, may vary with not only soil temperature but also nitrogen addition.


Earth Systems Research Center

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Atmospheric Environment



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