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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
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

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.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • 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.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Statistics & Probability: Making Inferences & Justifying Conclusions (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.IC.B.6 Evaluate reports based on data.
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