Changing precipitation has the potential to alter nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions from agricultural regions. In this study, we applied the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 end-of-century RCP 8.5 (business as usual) precipitation projections for the U.S. Upper Midwest and examined the effects of mean precipitation changes, characterized by increased early-season rainfall and decreased mid- to late-season rainfall, on N 2 O emissions from a conventionally managed corn (Zea mays L.) cropping system grown in an indoor mesocosm facility over four growing seasons. We also assessed the response of N 2 O emissions to over 1,000 individual rain events. Nitrous oxide emissions were most strongly correlated with water-filled pore space (WFPS) and soil nitrogen (N) status. After rain events, the change in N 2 O emissions, relative to pre-rain emissions, was more likely to be positive when soil NO 3 - was >40 mg N kg -1 soil and soil NH 4 + was >10 mg N kg -1 soil and was more likely to be negative when soil NO 3 - was >40 mg N kg -1 soil and soil NH 4 + was <10 mg N kg -1 soil. Similarly, hourly N 2 O emissions remained <5 nmol m - 2 s -1 when combined NH 4 + + NO 3 - was <20 mg N kg -1 soil or NH 4 + and NO 3 - were <5 and 20 mg N kg -1 soil, respectively. Rain event magnitude did not substantially affect the change in N 2 O flux. Finally, growing-season N 2 O emissions, soil moisture, and inorganic N content were not affected by the future precipitation pattern. Near-optimal soil WFPS combined with soil N concentrations above the identified thresholds favor higher N 2 O emissions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was partially supported by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA Grant 2018‐67019‐27808) and the MN Corn Research and Promotion Council.
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Environmental Quality published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.
- Nitrous Oxide/analysis
- Zea mays
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article