Geotimes Banner
Subscribe

Geotimes is now
    EARTH

Archives

Classifieds
Advertise
Customer Service
Geotimes Search

GeoMarketplace Link



EARTH magazine cover


  Geotimes Videocast - Is the nitrogen cycle out of whack?
Geotimes Videocast Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is the nitrogen cycle out of whack?

When it comes to fossil fuel emissions, carbon dioxide currently has center stage. But humans are also adding nitrogen to the environment. And it's happening at an alarming rate. We need nitrogen to produce food and energy. But we're too inefficient about it, say researchers reporting in Science magazine today.

Humans are adding nitrogen both by burning fossil fuels and by its use in agriculture and industry. And now, the nitrogen cycle is out of whack. Too much reactive nitrogen is starting to accumulate in soil, water, the atmosphere and the oceans.

That extra reactive nitrogen contributes to all sorts of environmental problems — smog, haze, "dead zones" in the coastal ocean, the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion. To balance the cycle, we need to manage our nitrogen use better, the scientists say. Controlling nitrogen emissions from fossil fuels will help. And other solutions are better treatment of sewage, and finding ways for crops to get more nitrogen out of their fertilizer.

Carolyn Gramling


Back to top


Advertise in Geotimes


Geotimes Home | AGI Home | Information Services | Geoscience Education | Public Policy | Programs | Publications | Careers

© 2014 American Geological Institute. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of any of the contents of this service without the express written consent of the American Geological Institute is expressly prohibited. For all electronic copyright requests, visit: http://www.copyright.com/ccc/do/showConfigurator?WT.mc_id=PubLink