Challenges in quantifying biosphere-atmosphere exchange of nitrogen species

M. A. Sutton*, E. Nemitz, J. W. Erisman, C. Beier, K. Butterbach Bahl, P. Cellier, W. de Vries, F. Cotrufo, U. Skiba, C. Di Marco, S. Jones, P. Laville, J. F. Soussana, B. Loubet, M. Twigg, D. Famulari, J. Whitehead, M. W. Gallagher, A. Neftel, C. R. FlechardB. Herrmann, P. L. Calanca, J. K. Schjoerring, U. Daemmgen, L. Horvath, Y. S. Tang, B. A. Emmett, A. Tietema, J. Peñuelas, M. Kesik, N. Brueggemann, K. Pilegaard, T. Vesala, C. L. Campbell, J. E. Olesen, U. Dragosits, M. R. Theobald, P. Levy, D. C. Mobbs, R. Milne, N. Viovy, N. Vuichard, J. U. Smith, P. Smith, P. Bergamaschi, D. Fowler, S. Reis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

161 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research in nitrogen exchange with the atmosphere has separated research communities according to N form. The integrated perspective needed to quantify the net effect of N on greenhouse-gas balance is being addressed by the NitroEurope Integrated Project (NEU). Recent advances have depended on improved methodologies, while ongoing challenges include gas-aerosol interactions, organic nitrogen and N2 fluxes. The NEU strategy applies a 3-tier Flux Network together with a Manipulation Network of global-change experiments, linked by common protocols to facilitate model application. Substantial progress has been made in modelling N fluxes, especially for N2O, NO and bi-directional NH3 exchange. Landscape analysis represents an emerging challenge to address the spatial interactions between farms, fields, ecosystems, catchments and air dispersion/deposition. European up-scaling of N fluxes is highly uncertain and a key priority is for better data on agricultural practices. Finally, attention is needed to develop N flux verification procedures to assess compliance with international protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number1
Publication statusPrint publication - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluxes
  • Landscape
  • Micrometeorology
  • Modelling
  • Nitrogen
  • Regional up-scaling


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