PerspectiveAtmospheric Science

Nitrogen and Climate Change

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Science  28 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5650, pp. 1512-1513
DOI: 10.1126/science.1091390

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Models project that land ecosystems may be able take up a considerable proportion of the carbon dioxide released by human activities, thereby counteracting the anthropogenic emissions. In their Perspective, Hungate et al. argue that these carbon uptake estimates are too high because the models do not take other nutrients such as nitrogen into account appropriately. The authors estimate that there will not be enough nitrogen available to sustain the high carbon uptake scenarios. Nutrients other than nitrogen may also affect carbon uptake in ways not captured by most models.