University of Minnesota Water-Based Nitrogen Budget

Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Climate change will impact elemental cycles; understanding such impacts can empower students to act toward sustainability and accountability. Fluxes of nitrogen contributing to campus ground and surface water pollution have not been studied in detail. This paper presents a water-based nitrogen budget for teaching, using the University of Minnesota campus as a model. We created three annual nitrogen budgets (2003–2005). Data were collected from interviews and published and unpublished papers. All ground or surface water nitrogen fluxes were considered. The campus represents a nitrogen sink; this could be due to nitrogen accumulation in soil, or to uncertainties in our estimation of gaseous losses or biological fixation pathways. More research is needed to assess accuracy and significance of this apparent sink. This paper shows that climate change will affect many elemental cycles; nitrogen perhaps most importantly. A water-based nitrogen budget is a unique approach to water pollution which could be used on university campuses to guide campus-mediated nitrogen pollution and promote sustainability.


Campus sustainability Nitrogen budget Water resources 


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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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