Rapid Ammonia Deposition Measured Near Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Levi George Stanton1,2, Da Pan1, Kang Sun1, Levi Golston1, Lei Tao1 and Mark A Zondlo1, (1)Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, United States, (2)Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton, NJ, United States
Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) emit massive amounts of ammonia (NH3) to the atmosphere. Current measurements of NH3 are generally conducted far away from the sources (satellites, airplanes, etc.). There is insufficient knowledge about the dry deposition rate of NH3 near the sources, which might contribute to the large discrepancies between measured concentrations at CAFOs and those from models. During the 2014 NASA DISCOVER-AQ campaign, we designed a series of tests to measure the deposition rate of NH3 by utilizing a suite of sensors, including a LICOR LI-7700 methane sensor and Princeton University’s custom open path NH3 sensor, which was mounted on top of a small SUV. Our mobile sampling technique enables us to follow feedlot emission plumes to see how ambient NH3 concentration decays as gases moves away from the CAFO. The mobile platform is used to perform upwind and downwind sampling to characterize the NH3 emission source. We tracked the change of the enhancement of NH3 concentration relative to the enhancement of CH4 concentration (ΔNH3:ΔCH4), while transecting the plume of individual cattle feedlots. Measured data shows that the high concentration of NH3 seen at the source decreases quickly as one moves further downwind from it. A time constant of approximately ten minutes has been calculated from the decay of the ΔNH3:ΔCH4 ratios while moving away from the sources. We also will compare our measurements with those of NASA’s P-3B aerosol measurements to show that the majority must be lost to dry deposition. This rapid deposition suggests that large amounts of NH3 are being deposited in very close proximity to these CAFOs, which is consistent with previous findings of locally high soil pH near NH3 sources. Our results will be used to better characterize nitrogen deposition from cattle feedlots and estimate NH3 lifetime.