Atmospheric ammonium sulphate deposition and its role in the acidification and nitrogen enrichment of poorly buffered aquatic systems

Abstract

The atmospheric transport of NH3, emitted from breeding farms and strongly manured cropland, causes a severe loading of neighboring non-agricultural environments. Particularly the wet deposition of ammonium sulphate is enhanced, while the pH of rainwater is only slightly acidic. Due to the variation of gaseous air pollutants over the Netherlands large differences are noticed in the relative contribution of each acidifying component in rainwater. In areas with high atmospheric NH3 concentrations, ammonium sulphate contributes the major part to the potential acidifying influence of wet deposition. Preliminary experiments show a causal relation between ammonium sulphate and water acidification, ammonium enrichment and the expansion of ammonium tolerant shore macrophytes. For the Dutch situation it is clear that, particularly in areas with enhanced atmospheric NH3 concentrations, the deposition of NH3 and SO2 derived compounds has provided the major contribution to acidification and N-enrichment of hydrologically isolated, poorly buffered pools. In all countries, particularly in areas with high NH3 emission, it will be useful to pay more attention to the environmental impact of airborne ammonium sulphate deposition. The atmospheric transport of NH3, emitted from breeding farms and strongly manured cropland, causes a severe loading of neighboring non-agricultural environments. Particularly the wet deposition of ammonium sulphate is enhanced, while the pH of rainwater is only slightly acidic. Due to the variation of gaseous air pollutants over the Netherlands large differences are noticed in the relative contribution of each acidifying component in rainwater. In areas with high atmospheric NH3 concentrations, ammonium sulphate contributes the major part to the potential acidifying influence of wet deposition. Preliminary experiments show a causal relation between ammonium sulphate and water acidification, ammonium enrichment and the expansion of ammonium tolerant shore macrophytes. For the Dutch situation it is clear that, particularly in areas with enhanced atmospheric NH3 concentrations, the deposition of NH3 and SO2 derived compounds has provided the major contribution to acidification and N-enrichment of hydrologically isolated, poorly buffered pools. In all countries, particularly in areas with high NH3 emission, it will be useful to pay more attention to the environmental impact of airborne ammonium sulphate deposition.

DOI: 10.1007/BF02118615

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Cite this paper

@article{Schuurkes2005AtmosphericAS, title={Atmospheric ammonium sulphate deposition and its role in the acidification and nitrogen enrichment of poorly buffered aquatic systems}, author={J. A. A. R. Schuurkes}, journal={Experientia}, year={2005}, volume={42}, pages={351-357} }