Climate Change Means More Nitrogen Runoff

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According to a new study, an intensifying water cycle will likely cause dramatic increases — nearing 20% by 2100 — in the amount of nitrogen runoff. Excessive nitrogen that mixes with rivers and estuaries can profoundly affect water systems; for example it can spur algal blooms, which have negative impacts on human health, aquatic ecosystems and the economy.

Future changes in precipitation patterns, induced by climate change, could strongly influence the degree of future nitrogen runoff; however, most analyses have been limited to local regions and only rely on a small handful of climate models.

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