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Open Access Publications from the University of California

N2O emissions from California farmlands: A review


Of the greenhouse gases emitted from cropland, nitrous oxide (N2O) has the highest global warming potential. The state of California acknowledges that agriculture both contributes to and is affected by climate change, and in 2016 it adopted legislation to help growers reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, explicitly including N2O. Nitrous oxide emissions can vary widely due to environmental and agronomic factors with most emission estimates coming from temperate grain systems. There is, however, a dearth of emission estimates from perennial and vegetable cropping systems commonly found in California's Mediterranean climate. Therefore, emission factors (EFs) specific to California conditions are needed to accurately assess statewide N2O emissions and mitigation options. In this paper, we review 16 studies reporting annual and seasonal N2O emissions. This data set represents all available studies on measured emissions at the whole field scale and on an event basis. Through this series of studies, we discuss how such farm management and environmental factors influence N2O emissions from California agriculture and may serve as a basis for improved EF calculations.

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