Land use change and management effects on soil N2O emissions in the Hai He river basin

Aims & Objectives

The project aims at the quantification of on-going and projected changes in land use, water management and environmental conditions on the dynamic exchange of carbon and nitrogen (C & N) components between the terrestrial ecosystem, atmosphere and hydrosphere.

Agricultural soils are the primary source for atmospheric N2O. Intensifiaction of land use, especially the increased use of nitrogen fertilizer, has boosted N2O emissions from agricultural soils in the past decades. An overuse of nitrogen fertilizer can not only lead to increased N2O emissions, but it can also result in large scale environmental problems such as eutrophication of surface waters, contamination of ground water or atmospheric pollution, e.g. by NH3 volatilization and formation of particles.

However, information on the N2O source strength of agricultural land is scarce due to the lack of elaborate measurements. Furthermore, uncertainty arises from the huge variability of soil N2O emissions on spatial and temporal scales. A way to overcome uncertainties and to improve site as well as regional estimates of biosphere-atmosphere exchange of N2O (and other green house gases like CO2 and CH4) is the close linkage of intensive field measurements with the development, testing and usage of bio-geo-chemical models MOBILE-DNDC  on site and regional scales. These models are coupled with the regional hydrological model CMF  to explore the importance of 3D modelling for the simulation of N2O (and CO2, CH4) emissions. 

Research Topics

  • Multi-physical simulations with bio-geo-chemical and hydrological models coupled via OpenPALM
  • Development of dynamic distributors in OpenPALM to enable load balancing in parallel coupled models
  • Parallelization and load balancing strategies for MOBILE-DNDC 
  • Calculation of regional N2O emission inventories for present day and future environmental conditions
  • Identify best management practice for land use and explore green house gas mitigation strategies


  • This project is funded by the DFG.


  • Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research - Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU )
  • Engineering Mathematics and Computing Lab (EMCL)



  • Martin Wlotzka


  • Indo-German Conference on Modelling, Simulation and Optimization in Applications
    Darmstadt, Germany, September 5-7, 2012
  • European Seminar on Computing (ESCO)
    Pilsen, Czech Republic, June 25-29, 2012