Dispersion, deposition and impacts of atmospheric ammonia: quantifying local budgets and spatial variability

MA Sutton*, C Milford, U Dragosits, CJ Place, RJ Singles, RI Smith, CER Pitcairn, D Fowler, J Hill, HM ApSimon, C Ross, R Hill, SC Jarvis, BF Pain, VC Phillips, R Harrison, D Moss, J Webb, SE Espenhahn, DS LeeM Hornung, J Ullyett, KR Bull, BA Emmett, J Lowe, GP Wyers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Ammonia is a reactive pollutant emitted primarily by agricultural sources near ground level in the rural environment. The consequence of these factors is that, in addition to the effects of long-range pollutant transport, ammonia has major effects at a local scale, with emission and receptor areas often closely located in the rural landscape. There is a substantial local spatial variability that needs to be considered in effects assessments, while variations in local deposition may affect the amount of ammonia available for impacts further afield. The wide-ranging UK programme ADEPT (Ammonia Distribution and Effects ProjecT) has addressed these issues through a combination of measurement and modelling activities concerning the distribution of emissions, atmospheric transport, deposition and effects assessment. The results are illustrated here by summarizing the findings of a joint experiment at Burrington Moor, Devon, and wider modelling contrasting the variability at a field scale with 5 km resolution estimates for the UK. The fraction of emitted NH, deposited locally is shown to depend critically on the downwind land-cover, with fluxes being dependent on interactions with the ammonia compensation point. This will restrict deposition back to agricultural land, but may mean that non-conservation woodlands could be of benefit to recapture a significant fraction of emissions. The generalized models demonstrate the high spatial variability of ammonia impacts, with a case study being used to show the consequences at a field scale. In source regions substantial variability occurs at sub-1 km levels and this will have major consequences for the emission reduction targets needed to protect ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNITROGEN, THE CONFER-N-S
EditorsKW VanderHoek, JW Erisman, S Smeulders, Wisniewski, J Wisniewski
Place of PublicationAMSTERDAM
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)0-08-043201-8
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Event1st International Nitrogen Conference 1998 - NOORDWIJKERHOUT, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Mar 199827 Mar 1998


Conference1st International Nitrogen Conference 1998

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • ammonia
  • emission
  • inventory
  • modelling
  • compensation point
  • mapping
  • critical loads
  • NH3


Dive into the research topics of 'Dispersion, deposition and impacts of atmospheric ammonia: quantifying local budgets and spatial variability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this