Nitrous oxide emissions from fertilized, irrigated cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in the Aral Sea Basin, Uzbekistan : influence of nitrogen applications and irrigation practices

Scheer, Clemens, Wassmann, Reiner, Kienzler, Kirsten, Ibragimov, Nazar, & Eschanov, Ruzimboy (2008) Nitrous oxide emissions from fertilized, irrigated cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in the Aral Sea Basin, Uzbekistan : influence of nitrogen applications and irrigation practices. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 40(2), pp. 290-301.

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Nitrous oxide emissions were monitored at three sites over a 2-year period in irrigated cotton fields in Khorezm, Uzbekistan, a region located in the arid deserts of the Aral Sea Basin. The fields were managed using different fertilizer management strategies and irrigation water regimes. N2O emissions varied widely between years, within 1 year throughout the vegetation season, and between the sites. The amount of irrigation water applied, the amount and type of N fertilizer used, and topsoil temperature had the greatest effect on these emissions.

Very high N2O emissions of up to 3000 μg N2O-N m−2 h−1 were measured in periods following N-fertilizer application in combination with irrigation events. These “emission pulses” accounted for 80–95% of the total N2O emissions between April and September and varied from 0.9 to 6.5 kg N2O-N ha−1.. Emission factors (EF), uncorrected for background emission, ranged from 0.4% to 2.6% of total N applied, corresponding to an average EF of 1.48% of applied N fertilizer lost as N2O-N. This is in line with the default global average value of 1.25% of applied N used in calculations of N2O emissions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

During the emission pulses, which were triggered by high soil moisture and high availability of mineral N, a clear diurnal pattern of N2O emissions was observed, driven by daily changes in topsoil temperature. For these periods, air sampling from 8:00 to 10:00 and from 18:00 to 20:00 was found to best represent the mean daily N2O flux rates. The wet topsoil conditions caused by irrigation favored the production of N2O from NO3− fertilizers, but not from NH4+ fertilizers, thus indicating that denitrification was the main process causing N2O emissions. It is therefore argued that there is scope for reducing N2O emission from irrigated cotton production; i.e. through the exclusive use of NH4+ fertilizers. Advanced application and irrigation techniques such as subsurface fertilizer application, drip irrigation and fertigation may also minimize N2O emission from this regionally dominant agro-ecosystem.

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ID Code: 75066
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Denitrification; Irrigation; Nitrogen; Soil moisture; Arid climate; Greenhouse gases; Climate change; Emission pulse
DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2007.08.007
ISSN: 0038-0717
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES (070000)
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Deposited On: 15 Aug 2014 02:56
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2014 00:58

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