Increasing anthropogenic nitrogen in the North Pacific Ocean

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Science  28 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6213, pp. 1102-1106
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258396

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Polluting the way to more productivity

Most biologically available nitrogen comes from the recycling of organic matter and nitrogen fixation. However, airborne anthropogenic nitrogen—air pollution—can also provide a source of such nitrogen. Kim et al. reconstructed changes in the N content of surface water across the North Pacific Ocean for the past four decades. N concentrations have increased markedly. This trend could enhance microbial growth in the ocean and eventually increase production of the greenhouse gas N2O.

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