"Researchers Assess Effects of a World Awash in Nitrogen"

"Humans are having an effect on Earth's ecosystems but it's not just the depletion of resources and the warming of the planet we are causing. Now you can add an over-abundance of nitrogen as another "footprint" humans are leaving behind. The only question is how large of an impact will be felt. In a Perspectives piece in the current issue of Science, Arizona State University researcher James Elser outlines some recent findings on the increasing abundance of available nitrogen on Earth."

"In 'A World Awash in Nitrogen,' Elser, a limnologist, comments on a new study showing that disruption to Earth's nitrogen balance began at the dawn of the industrial era and was further amplified by the development of the Haber-Bosch process to produce nitrogen rich fertilizers.

Until that time nitrogen, an essential building block to life on Earth and a major but inert component of its atmosphere, had cycled at low but balanced levels over millennia. That balance ended around 1895."

SPX had the story December 21, 2011.

Source: SPX, 12/21/2011