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  • Crystal Lu

Data of Global nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer use in the past half century

Updated: Sep 24, 2019


Spatial distribution and changes of N/P ratio in synthetic fertilizer application across the world in the years of 1961, 1980, 1990, and 2013


In addition to enhance agricultural productivity, synthetic nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) fertilizer application in croplands dramatically altered global nutrient budget, water quality, greenhouse gas balance, and their feedbacks to the climate system. However, due to the lack of geospatial fertilizer input data, current Earth system/land surface modeling studies have to ignore or use over-simplified data (e.g., static, spatially uniform fertilizer use) to characterize agricultural N and P input over decadal or century-long period. We therefore develop a global time-series gridded data of annual synthetic N and P fertilizer use rate in croplands, matched with HYDE 3,2 historical land use maps, at a resolution of 0.5º latitude by longitude during 1900-2013. Our data indicate N and P fertilizer use rates increased by approximately 8 times and 3 times, respectively, since the year 1961, when IFA (International Fertilizer Industry Association) and FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) survey of country-level fertilizer input were available. Considering cropland expansion, increase of total fertilizer consumption amount is even larger. Hotspots of agricultural N fertilizer use shifted from the U.S. and Western Europe in the 1960s to East Asia in the early 21st century. P fertilizer input show the similar pattern with additional hotspot in Brazil. We find a global increase of fertilizer N/P ratio by 0.8 g N/g P per decade (p< 0.05) during 1961-2013, which may have important global implication of human impacts on agroecosystem functions in the long run. Our data can serve as one of critical input drivers for regional and global assessment on agricultural productivity, crop yield, agriculture-derived greenhouse gas balance, global nutrient budget, land-to-aquatic nutrient loss, and ecosystem feedback to the climate system.

Citation:

Lu, C. and Tian, H.: Global nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer use for agriculture production in the past half century: shifted hot spots and nutrient imbalance, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 181-192, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-9-181-2017, 2017.


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Figure 1. Spatial distribution of global agricultural nitrogen (N) fertilizer use in the year of 1961, 1980, 1990 and 2013. Colors show N fertilizer use rate in per m2 cropland of each pixel.



Figure 2. Spatial distribution of global agricultural phosphorus (P) fertilizer use in the year of 1961, 1980, 1990, and 2013. Colors show P fertilizer use rate in per m2 cropland of each pixel.

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Iowa State University
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Chaoqun (Crystal) Lu

Office: 241 Bessey Hall
Phone: (515) 294-7443
Fax: (515) 294-1337
E-mail: clu@iastate.edu