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Massive source of ‘missing’ nitrogen could revolutionise climate change projections

A team of scientists they have solved the mystery of Earth’s “missing nitrogen”, a discovery with significant implications for climate change.

Nitrogen is vital for plant growth, so its availability controls the amount of greenery that can exist across the planet.

The prevailing idea among scientists is that all the nitrogen used by plants comes from the air, but a new study has revealed over a quarter originates in the Earth's bedrock.

"This runs counter the centuries-long paradigm that has laid the foundation for the environmental sciences,” said Professor Ben Houlton, an environmental scientist at the University of California, Davis and co-lead author of the study.

Paul White

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