Extreme climate increased crop nitrogen surplus in the United States

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Zhang, Jien
Lu, Chaoqun
Lu, Chaoqun
Feng, Hongli
Feng, Hongli
Guan, Yong
Hennessy, David
Hennessy, David
Guan, Yong
Wright, Mark Mba
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© 2021 Elsevier B.V.
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Mechanical Engineering
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Ecology, Evolution and Organismal BiologyElectrical and Computer EngineeringMechanical EngineeringEconomics
Increasing extreme climate conditions present significant threats to crop nitrogen (N) management and environmental conservation in the United States. Previous studies have examined the impacts of extreme climate on crop production but often overlooked its impacts on N loss from agricultural areas to the environments. Here we examine the relationship between county-level N surplus (the part of N that is not recovered by crops) and extreme climate conditions for corn in the U.S. from 1981-2016. We adopt multi-source long-term survey datasets of corn N budget and growing season (defined from May to August) maximum temperature and precipitation for each corn-planting county. Compared with the long-term N surplus trend, we find a 51% and 47% increase in corn N surplus associated with extremely high temperature and extremely low precipitations, respectively. A moderate N surplus increase (20%) is associated with extremely high precipitations, while a 14% N surplus decrease s shown to be related to extremely low temperatures. Across the U.S., the Midwest and the Northern Great Plains are identified as N surplus hotspots when extreme climate conditions occur. As the major corn-planting region, the Midwest on average yields 0.103 Tg yr-1 N surplus during extreme climate conditions. This amount is comparable to the annual total N surplus (0.1 Tg yr-1) yielded in the Northeast region. Our results highlight the urgency of understanding the impacts of extreme climate conditions on crop nutrient losses and identifying the effective intervention practices to adapt to more frequent climate extremes in the future.
This is a manuscript of an article published as Zhang, Jien, Chaoqun Lu, Hongli Feng, David Hennessy, Yong Guan, and Mark Mba Wright. "Extreme climate increased crop nitrogen surplus in the United States." Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 310 (2021): 108632. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108632. Posted with permission. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.
crop nutrient management, extreme climate, crop nitrogen surplus, county level, the United States