The origin of nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere is discussed. Evidently only a small proportion of the nitrate-and nitrite-nitrogen found in the precipitation is formed through electric discharges from molecular nitrogen, photochemical nitrogen fixation being probably of greater importance. Formation of nitrate nitrogen through atmospheric oxidation of nitrous oxide (N/sub 2/O) evaporating from the soil is also considered likely. Determination of nitrogen compounds at different altitudes is indispensable for gaining information of the N/sub 2/-fixation in the atmosphere and, in general, of the origin of nitrogen oxides and their decomposition. International cooperation is needed for this as well as for the quantitative determination of the nitrogen compounds removed from the soil by leaching and brought by waters into the seas.