Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Civil, Structural, & Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Dr Niamh Power


Described as a two-year study in relation to nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural grassland in the Republic of Ireland under a set or climate and environmental policy scenarios. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas, with a global warning potential approximately three hundred times that or carbon dioxide. lt is required under the Kyoto Protocol that national inventories or all greenhouse gas emissions are established. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Tier approach is designed to establish current inventories of greenhouse gas emissions; however a scenario approach is also employed in order to estimate emissions in future years. Scenario sets arc defined as broad possible futures based on projected assumptions and permutations of future social, economic, and political attitudes and decision making. These characteristics govern the rate of green­house gas emissions.

The Community Climate Change Consortium for Ireland (C41) has developed a set of climate change scenarios based on the robust emission scenarios developed by the IPCC. The models were designed to estimate the impacts of the IPCC scenario assumptions on the future climate of Ireland up to 2100. Time projections and scenarios covered in the study include, SRES A I B and BI up to 2050, and SRES A2 up to 2080. Policy scenarios, were constructed for no policy change and the impacts of the Nitrates Directive and milk quota abolition. Climate data sets from the C41 models, were used as input too climate variable emission factor equation and an inventory of nitrogen application to soils in Ireland was developed for mineral and organic fertiliser at county scale. Climate variable emission factors were applied to fertiliser inventories for the projected years at county scale and fertiliser application times were based on n constructed generic farm system. The resulting emissions are presented relative to emissions for the year 2000 baseline period.

Time study found that climate change will not be the most significant factor determining future emissions. Increases in organic and mineral fertiliser towards the Nitrates Direct­ive limits, and as a consequence animal stocking rates, will play a major role in future emissions. The abolition of European milk quota's, will not impact on future nitrous oxide emissions.

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