Nitrous oxide flux observed with tall-tower eddy covariance over a heterogeneous rice cultivation landscape

Xuhui Lee and 14 other contributors

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    Although croplands are known tobe strong sources of anthropogenic N2O, large uncertainties still exist regarding their emission factors, that is, the proportion of N in fertilizer application that escapes to the atmosphere as N2O. In this study, we report the results of an experiment on the N2O flux in a landscape dominated by rice cultivation in the Yangtze River Delta, China. The observation was made with a closed-path eddy covariance system on a 70-m tall tower from October 2018 to December 2020 (27 months). Temperature and precipitation explained 78% of the seasonal and interannual variability in the observed N2O flux. The growing season (May to October) mean flux (1.14 nmol m-2 s-1) was much higher than the median flux found in the literature for rice paddies. The mean N2O flux during the observational period was 0.90 +/- 0.71 nmol m-2 s-1, and the annual cumulative N2O emission was 7.6 and 9.1 kg N2ON ha-1 during 2019 and 2020, respectively. The corresponding landscape emission factor was 3.8% and 4.6%, respectively, which were much higher than the IPCC default direct (0.3%) and indirect emission factors (0.75%) for rice paddies.