Application of Bayesian statistics to estimate nitrous oxide emission factors of three nitrogen fertilisers on UK grasslands

Cowan, N.; Levy, P. ORCID:; Drewer, J. ORCID:; Carswell, A.; Shaw, R.; Simmons, I.; Bache, C.; Marinheiro, J.; Brichet, J.; Sanchez-Rodriguez, A.R.; Cotton, J.; Hill, P.W.; Chadwick, D.R.; Jones, D.L.; Misselbrook, T.H.; Skiba, U. ORCID: 2019 Application of Bayesian statistics to estimate nitrous oxide emission factors of three nitrogen fertilisers on UK grasslands. Environment International, 128. 362-370.

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Trapezoidal integration by linear interpolation of data points is by far the most commonly used method of cumulative flux calculations of nitrous oxide (N2O) in studies that use flux chambers; however, this method is incapable of providing accurate uncertainty estimates. A Bayesian approach was used to calculate N2O emission factors (EFs) and their associated uncertainties from flux chamber measurements made after the application of nitrogen fertilisers, in the form of ammonium nitrate (AN), urea (Ur) and urea treated with Agrotain® urease inhibitor (UI) at four grassland sites in the UK. The comparison between the cumulative fluxes estimated using the Bayesian and linear interpolation methods were broadly similar (R2 = 0.79); however, the Bayesian method was capable of providing realistic uncertainties when a limited number of data points is available. The study reports mean EF values (and 95% confidence intervals) of 0.60 ± 0.63, 0.29 ± 0.22 and 0.26 ± 0.17% of applied N emitted as N2O for the AN, Ur and UI treatments, respectively. There was no significant difference between N2O emissions from the Ur and UI treatments. In the case of the automatic chamber data collected at one site in this study, the data did not fit the log-normal model, implying that more complex models may be needed, particularly for measurement data with high temporal resolution.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0160-4120
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: agriculture, N2O, urease inhibitor, urea, uncertainty
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 10 May 2019 11:03 +0 (UTC)

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