, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 1-10

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The role of nitrogen in climate change and the impacts of nitrogen–climate interactions in the United States: foreword to thematic issue

  • Emma C. SuddickAffiliated withThe Woods Hole Research Center Email author 
  • , Penelope WhitneyAffiliated withResource Media
  • , Alan R. TownsendAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, INSTAAR
  • , Eric A. DavidsonAffiliated withThe Woods Hole Research Center


Producing food, transportation, and energy for seven billion people has led to large and widespread increases in the use of synthetic nitrogen (N) fertilizers and fossil fuel combustion, resulting in a leakage of N into the environment as various forms of air and water pollution. The global N cycle is more severely altered by human activity than the global carbon (C) cycle, and reactive N dynamics affect all aspects of climate change considerations, including mitigation, adaptation, and impacts. In this special issue of Biogeochemistry, we present a review of the climate–nitrogen interactions based on a technical report for the United States National Climate Assessment presented as individual papers for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, agriculture and human health within the US. We provide a brief overview of each of the paper’s main points and conclusions is presented in this foreword summary.


Nitrogen Climate change Interactions US