Ammonia monitoring in Ireland: A full year of ammonia monitoring; set-up and results

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Resource or Project Abstract

Atmospheric ammonia (NH3) is recognised as a major atmospheric pollutant. Ammonia is the most abundant alkaline component in the atmosphere (Graedal et al., 1995). Furthermore, it is an important nitrogen compound. Nitrogen components in the air can be divided into two groups: oxidised and reduced nitrogen compounds. The first group includes nitrogen oxides (NO2 and NO, often referred to as NOx), nitrous acid (HNO2) nitric acid (HNO3), peroxy-acetyl nitrate (PAN) and particulate nitrate. The second group includes ammonia and ammonium (NH3 and NH4+ often referred to as NHy) (Lövblad and Erisman, 1992).

Ammonia can contribute to acidification and eutrophication (fertilisation) of soil and surface waters (Grennfelt and Thörnelöf, 1992; Nihlgård, 1985; Bobbink et al., 1992a and b; Sutton et al., 1993). Enhanced atmospheric nitrogen deposition may lead to leaching of nitrate to surface- or groundwater, with toxicity and eutrophicationn implications (Aber et al., 1989; Reuss and Johnson, 1986; Skeffington, 1990). Ammonia deposition carries the potential for soil acidification as it can increase proton production in the soil?plant system. Furthermore, deposition of nitrogen compounds can affect the nutrient status of an ecosystem (Lövblad and Erisman, 1992).

Atmospheric ammonia can be a major source of nitrogen to sensitive (semi-) natural ecosystems (Sutton et al., 1992; Andersen and Hovmand, 1999). Fertilisation by deposition of atmospheric nitrogen can have a significant impact, particularly in ecosystems where nitrogen is in short supply. When deposited, ammonia can influence plant productivity. This can, in turn, influence the competitive ability of species, resulting in ecosystem changes and possibly a decrease in biodiversity (Van Dobben et al., 1999; Pitcairn et al., 1998). At very high concentration levels, ammonia can also have direct toxic effects on vegetation. These effects can manifest themselves as visible damage of foliage (Fangmeier et al., 1994). In 1985, when Nihlgård published the ?Ammonium Hypothesis? to explain the forest damage and successive dieback across central Europe and in parts of Southern Scandinavia, high N-deposition became generally accepted as a possible additional factor causing these. Since these processes became evident, considerable international research has been undertaken to gather information about ammonia and its role in ecological processes.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Prof. E.P. Farrell
Forest Ecosystem Research Group, UCD

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Att 1    R&D_94-99_Farrell_Ammonia_Monitoring_prn.pdf   (0.72 Mb)
Att 2    R&D_94-99_Farrell_Ammonia_Monitoring_syn.pdf   (0.55 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Farrell, E.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationAmmonia monitoring in Ireland: A full year of ammonia monitoring; set-up and results
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifier408a1a9a-2072-102f-a0a4-f81fb11d7d1c
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-06-25

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Farrell, E.   "Ammonia monitoring in Ireland: A full year of ammonia monitoring; set-up and results". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-06-25)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource KeywordsAmmonia, pollutant, Nitrogen Compunds,
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeAir Quality
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAny attached datasets, data files, or information objects can be downloaded for further use in scientific applications under the condition that the source is properly quoted and cited in published papers, journals, websites, presentations, books, etc. Before downloading, users must agree to the "Conditions of Download and Access" from SAFER-Data. These appear before download. Users of the data should also communicate with the original authors/owners of this resource if they are uncertain about any aspect of the data or information provided before further usage.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 2
Project Start Date Monday 4th January 1999 (04-01-1999)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 4th January 1999 (04-01-1999)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 31st January 2000 (31-01-2000)
Published on SAFERThursday 25th August 2011 (25-08-2011)
Date of Last EditThursday 25th August 2011 at 15:10:26 (25-08-2011)
Datasets or Files Updated On Thursday 25th August 2011 at 15:10:26 (25-08-2011)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
Weekly average ambient air ammonia concentrations were measured at 40 monitoring stations for a period of a year starting 4 January 1999. Measurements were carried out using a passive-diffusion sampling technique developed by the Department of Air Quality, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands. Dry deposition was estimated from an inferential approach, where the measured ammonia concentrations are combined with published surface-specific deposition velocities. A derivative of the the CORINE landcover database, describing the percentage of landuse for each 1 × 1 km grid square, was used for the calculations. Dry deposition from this study, and wet deposition obtained from the Critical Loads work carried out by the Forest Ecosystem Research Group were added to obtain an estimate of total deposition of reduced nitrogen in Ireland. Dry deposition estimates and concentration measurements from this project were compared with calculations using a simple transport model, carried out by FERG in 1997. In addition, total deposition of reduced nitrogen from this project was compared with EMEP modeled estimates.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The project entitled ?Ammonia Monitoring in Ireland? was carried out within the framework of the Environmental Monitoring R D Sub-programme of the Operational Programme for Environmental Services, 1994-1999, of the Environmental Protection Agency. The main objective of the project was the establishment and operation of a comprehensive Irish national ammonia-monitoring network. A large monitoring campaign was started at the end of November 1998. Weekly average ammonia concentrations were measured at up to 40 stations throughout the country. The Forest Ecosystem Research Group, Department of Environmental Resource Management in University College Dublin (FERG) has operated this network. The project was part-funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and by the Electricity Supply Board.
Supplementary Information
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