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Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Data

Regional Focus


Nitrous Oxide Emissions by Sector

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  • This interactive resource allows students to explore annual nitrous oxide emissions by sector since 1990 for any country or globally.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource clearly shows where most nitrous oxide emissions come from and how those emissions changed over time.
  • The data can be viewed as an animated chart, static chart, or table.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know how to read a line graph.
  • Teachers may need to introduce students to the term fugitive emissions.
  • Students may need some background information about nitrous oxide as a greenhouse gas and an unregulated ozone-depleting substance.


  • Cross-curricular connections could be made with chemistry classes by exploring the chemical properties of nitrous oxide that make it a potent greenhouse gas and an ozone-depleting substance.
  • Students can further research nitrous oxide using these questions as a guide:
    • How potent is nitrous oxide as a greenhouse gas?
    • How is nitrous oxide released from fertilizer and waste lagoons?
    • How does fertilizer use contribute to eutrophication and affect water ecosystems?
    • How important is nitrous oxide as an ozone-damaging gas?
Scientist Notes

The resource choose a 100-year time scale for the GWP to calculate and normalize these F gases units into a single unit expressed in CO2e  This method is appropriate as it considered the residence time of N2O - CO2 emissions. In the chart, agriculture appears to emit the highest concentration of N2O globally. The resource is recommended for teaching.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Mathematics
    • Statistics & Probability: Making Inferences & Justifying Conclusions (9-12)
      • HSS.IC.B.6 Evaluate reports based on data.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
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