Nitrous oxide emissions from a commercial cornfield (Zea mays) measured using the eddy-covariance technique

H. Huang, J. Wang, D. Hui, D. R. Miller, S. Bhattarai, S. Dennis, D. Smart, T. Sammis, K. C. Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increases in observed atmospheric concentrations of the long-lived greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) have been well documented. However, information on event-related instantaneous emissions during fertilizer applications is lacking. With the development of fast-response N2O analyzers, the eddy covariance (EC) technique can be used to gather instantaneous measurements of N2O concentrations to quantify the exchange of nitrogen between the soil and atmosphere. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the performance of a new EC system, to measure the N2O flux with the system, and finally to examine relationships of the N2O flux with soil temperature, soil moisture, precipitation, and fertilization events. An EC system was assembled with a sonic anemometer and a fast-response N2O analyzer (quantum cascade laser spectrometer) and applied in a cornfield in Nolensville, Tennessee during the 2012 corn growing season (4 April-8 August). Fertilizer amounts totaling 217 kg N ha-1 were applied to the experimental site. Results showed that this N2O EC system provided reliable N2O flux measurements. The cumulative emitted N2O amount for the entire growing season was 6.87 kg N2O-N ha-1. Seasonal fluxes were highly dependent on soil moisture rather than soil temperature. This study was one of the few experiments that continuously measured instantaneous, high-frequency N2O emissions in crop fields over a growing season of more than 100 days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12839-12854
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 8 2014


  • ISWS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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