Biochar: looking better all the time

Interesting biochar research is reported in a news release from the American Society of Agronomy.  An Australian research team has been testing the effects of biochar on nitrous oxide emission and nitrogen leaching from two different soil varieties. Their results are reported (no charge for this month) in the Journal of Environmental Quality.

The study demonstrates that biochar, applied to soils to capture and store carbon, can reduce emissions of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide and inorganic nitrogen runoff from agriculture settings.

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Nitrous oxide no laughing matter for ozone layer

Nitrous oxide (N2O, aka laughing gas) apart from being a powerful greenhouse gas, 298 times more effective at trapping heat than CO2, is also the single most important ozone depleting gas being emitted by human activities. A paper published in this week’s ScienceXpress, Nitrous Oxide (N2O): the dominant ozone-depleting substance emitted in the 21st century, by Ravishankara, Daniel and Portman(*), shows that as the chlorofluorcarbons controlled by the Montreal Protocol have been phased out, atmospheric N2O has continued to increase. Here’s the abstract:

By comparing the ozone depletion potential-weighted anthropogenic emissions of N2O with those of other ozone depleting substances, ODSs, we show that N2O emission currently is the single most important ODS emission and is expected to remain the largest throughout the 21st century. N2O is unregulated by the Montreal Protocol. Limiting future N2O emissions would enhance the recovery of the ozone layer from its depleted state, and would also reduce the anthropogenic forcing of the climate system, representing a ‘win-win’ for both ozone and climate.

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