A Kansas State University professor is part of a national research team that discovered that streams and rivers produce three times more greenhouse gas emissions than estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Through his work on the Konza Prairie Biological Station and other local streams, Walter Dodds, university distinguished professor of biology, helped demonstrate that nitrous oxide emissions from rivers and streams make up at least 10 percent of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions three times greater than current estimates by the climate change panel.
"This research deals with two important issues," Dodds said. "First, nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas. Second, nitrous oxide also destroys ozone in the upper atmosphere, exposing us to more ultra violet radiation."
The research, "Nitrous oxide emission from denitrification in stream and river networks," appears in this week's Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Jake Beaulieu of the Environmental Protection Agency is the lead author of the paper, produced as part of a project headed by Patrick Mulholland of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. From 2005 to 2007 the team received $3 million from the National Science Foundation to investigate nitrogen pollution in streams. K-State received $320,000 of the grant.