Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 98, Issue 3, pp 309–326 | Cite as

Predicting nitrous oxide emissions from N-fertilized grassland soils in the UK from three soil variables, using the B-LINE 2 model

  • Keith A. Smith
  • Jonathan Massheder
Original Article


Emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) from N-fertilized silage grassland in the UK were modelled with a hybrid part-empirical part-mechanistic model, B-LINE 2. N2O fluxes were predicted from combinations of three soil variables: soil water-filled pore space (WFPS), soil temperature (T) and soil mineral N content (Nmin). Pooled field “training” data from several sites and seasons were used to parameterise the model. N2O fluxes were assigned one of three values: the geometric means of the ranges 1–10, 10–100 and 100–1,000 g N2O-N ha−1 day−1, respectively, depending on threshold lines (a) relating flux and Nmin and (b) relating flux, WFPS and T. The model was applied to give daily and seasonal total fluxes, and the overall relationships with measured emissions from ammonium nitrate treatments were analysed separately for those site-seasons not used as a source of training data, for the training data site-seasons, and for all site-seasons together. Results for both training and non-training site-seasons showed, with some exceptions, reasonable agreement with experimental measurements in the timings of main emission peaks, and also in the magnitude of daily flux rate variations over time. Generally, modelled seasonal N2O emissions were somewhat higher than measured values, possibly because at very high WFPS values the actual N2O flux was lower than predicted as a result of greater reduction of nitrate to N2, rather than release as N2O. However, one site was an outlier, with predicted emissions much lower than those observed. Overall, the modelling results compared well with those obtained elsewhere with other models.


Agricultural soils Modelling Nitrous oxide emissions Soil mineral nitrogen Temperature Water-filled pore space 



We wish to acknowledge the support of the former Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department, under contract number UEH/007/03, for the earlier phases of this work, and the European Union’s Framework 6 Integrated Project NitroEurope (Contract No. 017841), during later stages, as well as the constructive comments and suggestions provided by two reviewers.

Supplementary material

10705_2014_9613_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (136 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 203 kb)
10705_2014_9613_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (181 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 177 kb)
10705_2014_9613_MOESM3_ESM.pptx (932 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PPTX 931 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of GeoSciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.DevonUK
  3. 3.Simulistics LtdMidlothianUK

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