Heterogeneity of atmospheric ammonia at the landscape scale and consequences for environmental impact assessment

Vogt, Esther; Dragosits, Ulrike; Braban, Christine F.; Theobald, Mark R.; Dore, Anthony J.; van Dijk, Netty; Tang, Y. Sim; McDonald, Chris; Murray, Scott; Rees, Robert M.; Sutton, Mark A.. 2013 Heterogeneity of atmospheric ammonia at the landscape scale and consequences for environmental impact assessment. Environmental Pollution, 179. 120-131.

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We examined the consequences of the spatial heterogeneity of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) by measuring and modelling NH3 concentrations and deposition at 25 m grid resolution for a rural landscape containing intensive poultry farming, agricultural grassland, woodland and moorland. The emission pattern gave rise to a high spatial variability of modelled mean annual NH3 concentrations and dry deposition. Largest impacts were predicted for woodland patches located within the agricultural area, while larger moorland areas were at low risk, due to atmospheric dispersion, prevailing wind direction and low NH3 background. These high resolution spatial details are lost in national scale estimates at 1 km resolution due to less detailed emission input maps. The results demonstrate how the spatial arrangement of sources and sinks is critical to defining the NH3 risk to semi-natural ecosystems. These spatial relationships provide the foundation for local spatial planning approaches to reduce environmental impacts of atmospheric NH3.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Billett (to November 2013)
ISSN: 0269-7491
Additional Keywords: ammonia, critical level, landscape scale, dispersion modelling, spatial planning
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 04 Jun 2013 09:51 +0 (UTC)

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