Development of context-specific emissions factors from the application of nitrogenous fertilisers

Flagship Goal: To encourage global efforts to reduce GHG emissions from nitrogenous fertiliser by enabling its usage to be more accurately reflected in national level GHG accounting.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agricultural applications of nitrogenous fertiliser can vary significantly depending on how, where and when a fertilizer is used. Modifying farm systems and making changes to management practices, such as timing, amount, rate and location of fertilizer application, has been shown to dramatically influence the amount of N2O being emitted.

Quantifying the emissions from applying nitrogenous fertilizers in different situations in national inventories is a significant challenge for many countries. There is a dearth of information on the environmental and soil conditions and relevant variables that underpin estimates of these emissions, with significant gaps existing for some regions and productive systems. This limits the accountability of national GHG inventories, and the possibility to adequately reflect the effect of mitigation actions implemented.

This Flagship project seeks to compile existing data, and undertake new field measurements, to develop context specific emissions factors relating to the application of nitrogenous fertilisers for the purpose of inventory improvement including N2O mitigation accounting.

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Tier 2 emission factors for the use of N fertiliser around the globe for significant agricultural productive systems and practices, contributing to more accurate GHG inventories and providing the required information for the reflection of the respective mitigation efforts by countries.

Opportunities to get involved

  • Data requirements: historical and future measurements of N2O and ammonia from diverse production systems and fertiliser treatments, with associated site information
  • Skill requirement: expertise in statistical analysis or modelling
  • New funding for collaborative initiatives

Contact the Project Leader if you would like to explore ways in which you can contribute to this project. Click on the name below to send an email:

Tony van der Weerden (New Zealand)

Key Partners

Participating institutions: INIA – Chile, INTA Argentina, INTA – Costa Rica,  Landcare Research – New Zealand, Teagasc – Ireland, Rothamsted Research – UK, AAFC-Canada, USDA – USA, Colorado State University – USA, Thuenen Institute – Germany, University of Goettingen – Germany, CAAS – China, ETH Zurich – Switzerland, IITA – CGIAR, CIMMYT – CGIAR, International Fertiliser Association, University of Costa Rica, AgResearch – New Zealand, La Molina University – Peru, Lincoln University – New Zealand, University Politechnic Madrid – Spain, Bangor University – UK, Aarhus University – Denmark, University of Oslo – Norway, Embrapa – Brazil, Queensland University of Technology – Australia, The Nature Conservancy Trust, University of Hohenheim – Germany. 

Project status: Active