Modeling global N2O emissions from aquatic systems

W.P.M.F. Ivens, D.J.J. Tysmans, C. Kroeze, A.J. Löhr, J. van Wijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Human activities on land have increased the N inputs to rivers and coastal waters worldwide. This increased aquatic emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O). Global, spatially explicit modeling of N flows from land to sea and associated N2O emissions have been developed for a number of decades. During the 1990s, global N2O studies focused to a large extent on closing the global budget. Since then, aquatic emissions of N2O have been subject of scientific discussions. Although it is widely recognized that human activities on land increase aquatic N2O emissions, quantification is difficult because of lack of experimental data. In order to reduce uncertainties, additional long-term studies are required measuring N and N2O concentrations in aquatic systems. More explicit modeling of N2O formation and the underlying biogeochemical cycling in aquatic systems would improve our understanding of aquatic N2O emissions. Global models preferably include both N cycling, N2O production, and river transport in a spatially explicit way, as well as biogeochemical cycling in coastal seas and oceans. Integrative studies are needed that account for the interactions between different impacts of increased levels of reactive N in the environment. We argue that it is still difficult to close the global N2O budget.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-358
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • nitrous-oxide emissions
  • fresh-water
  • rivers
  • future
  • budget
  • inputs
  • ocean
  • combustion
  • trends
  • impact

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