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Title: Reduced Snow Cover Increases Wintertime Nitrous Oxide (N 2O) Emissions from an Agricultural Soil in the Upper U.S. Midwest

Abstract

Throughout most of the northern hemisphere, snow cover decreased in almost every winter month from 1967 to 2012. Because snow is an effective insulator, snow cover loss has likely enhanced soil freezing and the frequency of soil freeze–thaw cycles, which can disrupt soil nitrogen dynamics including the production of nitrous oxide (N 2O). Here, we used replicated automated gas flux chambers deployed in an annual cropping system in the upper Midwest US for three winters (December–March, 2011–2013) to examine the effects of snow removal and additions on N 2O fluxes. Diminished snow cover resulted in increased N2O emissions each year; over the entire experiment, cumulative emissions in plots with snow removed were 69% higher than in ambient snow control plots and 95% higher than in plots that received additional snow (P < 0.001). Higher emissions coincided with a greater number of freeze–thaw cycles that broke up soil macroaggregates (250–8000 µm) and significantly increased soil inorganic nitrogen pools. We conclude that winters with less snow cover can be expected to accelerate N 2O fluxes from agricultural soils subject to wintertime freezing.

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). W.K. Kellogg Biological Station; Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and Dept. of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
National Science Foundation (NSF); USDOE Office of Science (SC); USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1418519
Grant/Contract Number:  
FC02-07ER64494
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Ecosystems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 1432-9840
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; nitrous oxide (N2O); snow cover; freeze–thaw cycles; soil nitrogen; soil aggregates; automated chambers; greenhouse gases; climate change

Citation Formats

Ruan, Leilei, and Robertson, G. Philip. Reduced Snow Cover Increases Wintertime Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Emissions from an Agricultural Soil in the Upper U.S. Midwest. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1007/s10021-016-0077-9.
Ruan, Leilei, & Robertson, G. Philip. Reduced Snow Cover Increases Wintertime Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Emissions from an Agricultural Soil in the Upper U.S. Midwest. United States. doi:10.1007/s10021-016-0077-9.
Ruan, Leilei, and Robertson, G. Philip. Mon . "Reduced Snow Cover Increases Wintertime Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Emissions from an Agricultural Soil in the Upper U.S. Midwest". United States. doi:10.1007/s10021-016-0077-9. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1418519.
@article{osti_1418519,
title = {Reduced Snow Cover Increases Wintertime Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Emissions from an Agricultural Soil in the Upper U.S. Midwest},
author = {Ruan, Leilei and Robertson, G. Philip},
abstractNote = {Throughout most of the northern hemisphere, snow cover decreased in almost every winter month from 1967 to 2012. Because snow is an effective insulator, snow cover loss has likely enhanced soil freezing and the frequency of soil freeze–thaw cycles, which can disrupt soil nitrogen dynamics including the production of nitrous oxide (N2O). Here, we used replicated automated gas flux chambers deployed in an annual cropping system in the upper Midwest US for three winters (December–March, 2011–2013) to examine the effects of snow removal and additions on N2O fluxes. Diminished snow cover resulted in increased N2O emissions each year; over the entire experiment, cumulative emissions in plots with snow removed were 69% higher than in ambient snow control plots and 95% higher than in plots that received additional snow (P < 0.001). Higher emissions coincided with a greater number of freeze–thaw cycles that broke up soil macroaggregates (250–8000 µm) and significantly increased soil inorganic nitrogen pools. We conclude that winters with less snow cover can be expected to accelerate N2O fluxes from agricultural soils subject to wintertime freezing.},
doi = {10.1007/s10021-016-0077-9},
journal = {Ecosystems},
number = 5,
volume = 20,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Nov 21 00:00:00 EST 2016},
month = {Mon Nov 21 00:00:00 EST 2016}
}

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