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01/06/2010 11:27 AM     print story email story  

Nitrogen Limits Skew Climate Change Forecasts News

Not enough attention has been paid to nitrogen in forecasting climate change scenarios, according to a new study.

Nitrogen--like carbon dioxide (CO2)--is essential to plant growth. It is abundant in the atmosphere, but only a few types of nitrogen-fixing plants can crack the chemical bonds that make it unavailable to most plant life. That's why nitrogen fertilizers are added to crops and gardens.

Climate change models estimate how much CO2 can be absorbed by the planet's forests, but the do noty take into account nitrogen limitations.

Research to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters suggests this is a major oversight resulting in an underestimation of future climate warming. 

Read the Discovery News report at the link below.


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