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Precipitation and nitrogen application stimulate soil nitrous oxide emission...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosytems
Publication Date
Page Numbers
363 to 378

Precipitation and nitrogen (N) fertilization are the two most important drivers for soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emission. However, the effects of changes in N fertilization and precipitation patterns (i.e., precipitation intensity and frequency) on N2O emissions in agricultural fields are still unclear. In this study, we simulated soil N2O emission under different precipitation patterns (6 precipitation intensities, and 12 precipitation frequencies by either merging or splitting precipitation events) and N fertilization rates (low, typical, and high N fertilization) in a cornfield using the DeNitrification-DeComposition model. The model was parameterized and validated using meteorological data and N experimental measurements in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Results showed that soil water filled pore space (WFPS) and simulated soil N2O emission increased as precipitation intensity increased. Less frequent but high intensity precipitation treatments reduced the soil WFPS by 25.2% and stimulated soil N2O emission by 45.3%, while more frequent but low intensity precipitation treatments increased soil WFPS by 9.0% and reduced soil N2O emission by 23.9%. Compared to typical N fertilization, the sensitivity of soil N2O emission to precipitation was higher under high N than low N fertilization treatments, and the response ratios were 50.0% and 40.1%, respectively. There was significant interactive effect of precipitation intensity and N fertilization on soil N2O emission. These findings improved our understanding of precipitation and N impacts on soil N2O emissions and provided useful knowledge for irrigation and N fertilizer management in agriculture to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.