A climate-dependent global model of ammonia emissions from chicken farming

Jize Jiang, David Stevenson, Aimable Uwizeye, Giuseppe Tempio, Mark A. Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ammonia (NH3) has significant impacts on the environment, which can influence climate and air quality and cause acidification and eutrophication in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Agricultural activities are the main sources of NH3 emissions globally. Emissions of NH3 from chicken farming are highly dependent on climate, affecting their environmental footprint and impact. In order to investigate the effects of meteorological factors and to quantify how climate change affects these emissions, a process-based model, AMmonia–CLIMate–Poultry (AMCLIM–Poultry), has been developed to simulate and predict temporal variations in NH3 emissions from poultry excretion, here focusing on chicken farms and manure spreading. The model simulates the decomposition of uric acid to form total ammoniacal nitrogen, which then partitions into gaseous NH3 that is released to the atmosphere at an hourly to daily resolution. Ammonia emissions are simulated by calculating nitrogen and moisture budgets within poultry excretion, including a dependence on environmental variables. By applying the model with global data for livestock, agricultural practice and meteorology, we calculate NH3 emissions from chicken farming on a global scale (0.5∘ resolution). Based on 2010 data, the AMCLIM–Poultry model estimates NH3 emissions from global chicken farming of 5.5 ± 1.2 Tg N yr−1, about 13 % of the agriculture-derived NH3 emissions. Taking account of partial control of the ambient environment for housed chicken (layers and broilers), the fraction of excreted nitrogen emitted as NH3 is found to be up to 3 times larger in humid tropical locations than in cold or dry locations. For spreading of manure to land, rain becomes a critical driver affecting emissions in addition to temperature, with the emission fraction being up to 5 times larger in the semi-dry tropics than in cold, wet climates. The results highlight the importance of incorporating climate effects into global NH3 emissions inventories for agricultural sources. The model shows increased emissions under warm and wet conditions, indicating that climate change will tend to increase NH3 emissions over the coming century.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiogeosciences
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2021

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