Temporal variation in atmospheric ammonia concentrations above seabird colonies

Blackall, T.D. and Wilson, L.J. and Bull, J. and Theobald, Mark Richard and Bacon, P.J. and Hamer, K.C. and Wanless, S. and Sutton, Mark A. (2008). Temporal variation in atmospheric ammonia concentrations above seabird colonies. "Atmospheric Environment", v. 42 (n. 29); pp. 6942-6950. ISSN 1352-2310. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.04.059.

Description

Title: Temporal variation in atmospheric ammonia concentrations above seabird colonies
Author/s:
  • Blackall, T.D.
  • Wilson, L.J.
  • Bull, J.
  • Theobald, Mark Richard
  • Bacon, P.J.
  • Hamer, K.C.
  • Wanless, S.
  • Sutton, Mark A.
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: Atmospheric Environment
Date: September 2008
ISSN: 1352-2310
Volume: 42
Subjects:
Freetext Keywords: Ammonia, Emission, Seabird, Nitrogen, Guano, Model.
Faculty: E.T.S.I. Agrónomos (UPM) [antigua denominación]
Department: Química y Análisis Agrícola [hasta 2014]
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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Abstract

Recent studies have shown that seabirds are an important source of ammonia (NH3) emissions in remote coastal ecosystems. Nesting behaviour, which varies between seabird species, is likely to be a major factor in determining the proportion of excreted nitrogen (N) volatilised to the atmosphere as NH3. A long-term NH3 monitoring programme was implemented at a Scottish seabird colony with a range of species and associated nesting behaviours. The average monthly NH3 concentration was measured at 12 locations over a 14-month period, to infer spatial (i.e. species-specific) and temporal (seasonal) changes in NH3 emissions from different seabird species. An emissions model of seabird NH3, based on species-specific bioenergetics and behaviour, was applied to produce spatial estimates for input to a dispersion model. Atmospheric NH3 concentrations demonstrated spatial variability as a result of differing local populations of breeding seabirds, with the highest concentrations measured above cliff nesting species such as Common guillemot Uria aalge, Razorbill Alca torda and Blacklegged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla. NH3 concentrations above a colony of burrow nesting Atlantic puffin Fratercula arctica were low, considering the high number of birds. Emission of NH3 from excreted N exhibits a time lag of approximately a month. It is likely that all excreted N is lost from the colony by volatilisation as NH3 or surface run-off between breeding seasons. Modelled NH3 emissions and concentrations correlated with measured concentrations, but were much higher, reflecting uncertainties in the local turbulent characteristics. The results allow multi-species seabird population data to be used for the calculation of regional and global NH3 emission inventories, whilst improving understanding of N budgets of remote coastal ecosystems.

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