Nitrous Oxide Emissions Estimated With the CarbonTracker-Lagrange North American Regional Inversion Framework

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published



North American nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions of 1.6 ± 0.3 Tg N/yr over 2008–2014 are estimated using the CarbonTracker‐Lagrange regional inversion framework. The estimated N2O emissions are largely consistent with the EDGAR (Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research) global inventory and with the results of global atmospheric inversions but offer more spatial and temporal detail over North America. Emissions are strongest from the Midwestern Corn/Soybean Belt, which accounts for nearly one third of the total North American N2O source. The emissions are maximum in spring/early summer, consistent with a nitrogen fertilizer‐driven source, and also show a late winter spike suggestive of freeze‐thaw effects. Interannual variability in emissions across the primary months of fertilizer application is positively correlated to mean precipitation. The estimated N2O flux from the Midwestern Corn/Soybean Belt and the more northerly United States/Canadian wheat belt corresponds to 4.2–4.6% and 2.2–3.0%, respectively, of total synthetic + organic N fertilizer applied to those regions. Consideration of nonagricultural sources and additional N inputs from soybean N2 fixation could reduce the N2O yield from the Midwestern Corn/Soybean Belt to ~2.2–2.4% of total N inputs.


Global Biogeochemical Cycles



Year of Publication





463 - 485

Short Title

Global Biogeochem. Cycles