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Nitrogen Deposition in China Has Stabilized over the Past Decade
Update time: [May 21, 2019]
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China is one of the three regions with the highest N (Nitrogen) deposition in the world. Better understanding of the spatio-temporal pattern of N deposition is critical for environmental management and policy development.

Prof. YU Guirui at Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of Chinese Academy of Sciences and his coauthors’ recent work demonstrates a clear linkage between nitrogen deposition, speciation, and environmental and social policies.

The team evaluated systematically the spatio-temporal variation of N deposition and its components in China during 1980-2015 using an extensive dataset including both wet and dry N deposition. This work was published in Nature Geoscience.

They analyzed the interannual and spatial variation of wet and dry nitrogen deposition across China for the past more than three decades, and found three encouraging and highly significant transitions in N deposition in China: (1) stabilization of total N deposition driven mostly by a decline in wet NH4+ deposition, which was also enhanced recently by a decrease in NOy deposition, (2) a shift to approximately equal wet and dry N deposition, and (3) a decreased contribution of reduced N deposition.

Furthermore, they revealed that these transitions in China’s recent N deposition are jointly driven by a changing socio-economic structure and effective environmental policies, highlighting the accomplishments of China’s environmental protection during the past decades.

The study provides new insights for future N management and mitigation. It also shows a paradigm for the management of anthropogenic N deposition in developing countries through social and environmental policies that can achieve both in reducing pollution and sustaining the economic growth.

The work was jointly supported by the national Key Research and Development Program of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.  


Yu GR*, Jia YL, He NP, Zhu JX, Chen Z, Wang QF, Piao SL, Liu XJ, He HL, Guo XB, Zhang W, Li P, Ding GA, Goulding K. 2019. Stabilisation of atmospheric nitrogen deposition in China over the past decades. Nature Geoscience, doi: 10.1038/s41561-019-0352-4.


Mechanisms by which socioeconomic structures and environmental policies drove the transition of atmospheric N deposition in China (Image by ZHU Jianxing) 

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