Simulation of soil nitrogen, nitrous oxide emissions and mitigation scenarios at 3 European cropland sites using the ECOSSE model

M. J. Bell, E. Jones, J. U. Smith, P. Smith, J. Yeluripati, J. Augustin, R. Juszczak, J. Olejnik, M. Sommer

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60 Citations (Scopus)


The global warming potential of nitrous oxide (N 2 O) and its long atmospheric lifetime mean its presence in the atmosphere is of major concern, and that methods are required to measure and reduce emissions. Large spatial and temporal variations means, however, that simple extrapolation of measured data is inappropriate, and that other methods of quantification are required. Although process-based models have been developed to simulate these emissions, they often require a large amount of input data that is not available at a regional scale, making regional and global emission estimates difficult to achieve. The spatial extent of organic soils means that quantification of emissions from these soil types is also required, but will not be achievable using a process-based model that has not been developed to simulate soil water contents above field capacity or organic soils. The ECOSSE model was developed to overcome these limitations, and with a requirement for only input data that is readily available at a regional scale, it can be used to quantify regional emissions and directly inform land-use change decisions. ECOSSE includes the major processes of nitrogen (N) turnover, with material being exchanged between pools of SOM at rates modified by temperature, soil moisture, soil pH and crop cover. Evaluation of its performance at site-scale is presented to demonstrate its ability to adequately simulate soil N contents and N 2 O emissions from cropland soils in Europe. Mitigation scenarios and sensitivity analyses are also presented to demonstrate how ECOSSE can be used to estimate the impact of future climate and land-use change on N 2 O emissions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-181
Number of pages21
JournalNutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • soil N2O emissions
  • process-based models
  • land-use
  • climate change
  • DNDC model
  • N2O emissions
  • arable soils
  • field-scale
  • carbon
  • water
  • denitrification
  • validation
  • fertilizer
  • systems


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