The global distribution of ammonia emissions from seabird colonies
Riddick, S.N.; Dragosits, U.; Blackall, T.D.; Daunt, F.; Wanless, S.; Sutton, M.A.. 2012 The global distribution of ammonia emissions from seabird colonies. Atmospheric Environment, 55. 319-327. 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.02.052Full text not available from this repository.
Seabird colonies represent a significant source of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) in remote maritime systems, producing a source of nitrogen that may encourage plant growth, alter terrestrial plant community composition and affect the surrounding marine ecosystem. To investigate seabird NH3 emissions on a global scale, we developed a contemporary seabird database including a total seabird population of 261 million breeding pairs. We used this in conjunction with a bioenergetics model to estimate the mass of nitrogen excreted by all seabirds at each breeding colony. The results combined with the findings of mid-latitude field studies of volatilization rates estimate the global distribution of NH3 emissions from seabird colonies on an annual basis. The largest uncertainty in our emission estimate concerns the potential temperature dependence of NH3 emission. To investigate this we calculated and compared temperature independent emission estimates with a maximum feasible temperature dependent emission, based on the thermodynamic dissociation and solubility equilibria. Using the temperature independent approach, we estimate global NH3 emissions from seabird colonies at 404 Gg NH3 per year. By comparison, since most seabirds are located in relatively cold circumpolar locations, the thermodynamically dependent estimate is 136 Gg NH3 per year. Actual global emissions are expected to be within these bounds, as other factors, such as non-linear interactions with water availability and surface infiltration, moderate the theoretical temperature response. Combining sources of error from temperature (±49%), seabird population estimates (±36%), variation in diet composition (±23%) and non-breeder attendance (±13%), gives a mid estimate with an overall uncertainty range of NH3 emission from seabird colonies of 270 [97–442] Gg NH3 per year. These emissions are environmentally relevant as they primarily occur as “hot-spots” in otherwise pristine environments with low anthropogenic emissions.
|Programmes:||CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 onwards > Biodiversity
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 onwards > Biogeochemistry
|Additional Keywords:||coastal nitrogen, seabird colony, bioenergetic modelling, emission map, temperature, climate change|
|NORA Subject Terms:||Ecology and Environment
|Date made live:||28 May 2012 14:21|
Actions (login required)