Nitrous Oxide Emissions Pose Greater Threat to the Climate, Study Finds

Feb, 2021 - By WMR

Nitrous Oxide Emissions Pose Greater Threat to the Climate, Study Finds

Researchers from the Auburn University have found that climate goals of Paris Agreement are being jeopardized due to rising emissions of nitrous oxide.

Scientists from 48 research institutes across 14 countries conducted a study under the International Nitrogen Initiative and Global Carbon Project, which showed that growing use of nitrogen-based fertilizers in the worldwide food production is increasing the concentration of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a greenhouse gas with 300 times more potential of increasing global warming than carbon dioxide, which remains in the atmosphere for more than 100 years. The findings showed that nitrous oxide emissions are increasing at a faster rate than any other emission which has led to an increase in the global mean temperature. The mean temperature reached above 3°C while the Paris agreement aims to limit this temperature to less than 2°C (ideally not more than 1.5°C). The study showed that N2O in the atmosphere has risen at an alarming rate (from 270 parts per billion in 1750 to 331 parts per billion in 2018), and most of this growth took place in the past 50 years.

Co-investigator, Professor Hanqin Tian of Auburn University, said that the major reason for these emissions is the increase is agricultural activities and the growing demand for food from South Asia, East Asia, South America and Africa. Prof. Tian further added that it is more likely to increase since there has always been an imbalance in stabilizing the climate and demand for food. The increasing amount of N2O in the atmosphere is leading towards depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. According to Prof. Tian and the team of researchers, the study calls for urgent reevaluation regarding the greenhouse gases emissions across the world as the climate will be worst affected.

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