A recent study that can improve climate change projections has suggested that most of the nitrogen on Earth comes from the planet’s bedrock. According to the prevailing science, all the nitrogen that is available on Earth comes from the plants. On the contrary, the present study suggests that 26 per cent of the nitrogen in natural ecosystems is derived from the rocks and rest of it from the atmosphere.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California – Davis in the US. This had led to vast improvement in the climate change projections that depends on understanding the carbon cycle. This new source of nitrogen also helps in feeding the carbon cycle on land. Nitrogen also allows forests and grasslands to sequester more fossil fuel CO2 emissions than was presumed earlier. Ecosystems require nitrogen and other nutrients to absorb carbon dioxide pollution, and there is a very little amount of it available from plants and soils. Researchers believe that if a large amount of nitrogen is derived from rocks, it helps to explain how natural ecosystems like boreal forests are able to take up high levels of carbon dioxide. Also, not every rock can leach nitrogen. Rock nitrogen availability is assessed by weathering, that can be physical, such as by way of tectonic movement, or chemical, such as when minerals react with rainwater.
By: Anuja Arora