Articles | Volume 2, issue 4
05 Dec 2005
05 Dec 2005

Inventories of N2O and NO emissions from European forest soils

M. Kesik, P. Ambus, R. Baritz, N. Brüggemann, K. Butterbach-Bahl, M. Damm, J. Duyzer, L. Horváth, R. Kiese, B. Kitzler, A. Leip, C. Li, M. Pihlatie, K. Pilegaard, S. Seufert, D. Simpson, U. Skiba, G. Smiatek, T. Vesala, and S. Zechmeister-Boltenstern

Abstract. Forest soils are a significant source for the primary and secondary greenhouse gases N2O and NO. However, current estimates are still uncertain due to the still limited number of field measurements and the herein observed pronounced variability of N trace gas fluxes in space and time, which are due to the variation of environmental factors such as soil and vegetation properties or meteorological conditions. To overcome these problems we further developed a process-oriented model, the PnET-N-DNDC model, which simulates the N trace gas exchange on the basis of the processes involved in production, consumption and emission of N trace gases. This model was validated against field observations of N trace gas fluxes from 19 sites obtained within the EU project NOFRETETE, and shown to perform well for N2O (r2=0.68, slope=0.76) and NO (r2=0.78, slope=0.73). For the calculation of a European-wide emission inventory we linked the model to a detailed, regionally and temporally resolved database, comprising climatic properties (daily resolution), and soil parameters, and information on forest areas and types for the years 1990, 1995 and 2000. Our calculations show that N trace gas fluxes from forest soils may vary substantial from year to year and that distinct regional patterns can be observed. Our central estimate of NO emissions from forest soils in the EU amounts to 98.4, 84.9 and 99.2 kt N yr−1, using meteorology from 1990, 1995 and year 2000, respectively. This is <1.0% of pyrogenic NOx emissions. For N2O emissions the central estimates were 86.8, 77.6 and 81.6 kt N yr−1, respectively, which is approx. 14.5% of the source strength coming from agricultural soils. An extensive sensitivity analysis was conducted which showed a range in emissions from 44.4 to 254.0 kt N yr−1 for NO and 50.7 to 96.9 kt N yr−1 for N2O, for year 2000 meteorology.

The results show that process-oriented models coupled to a GIS are useful tools for the calculation of regional, national, or global inventories of biogenic N trace gas emissions from soils. This work represents the most comprehensive effort to date to simulate NO and N2O emissions from European forest soils.

Final-revised paper