Biogeosciences Discuss., 6, 825-862, 2009
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in BG.
Estimation of NH3 emissions from a naturally ventilated livestock farm using local-scale atmospheric dispersion modelling
A. Hensen1, B. Loubet2, J. Mosquera1, W. C. M. van den Bulk1,*, J. W. Erisman1, U. Dämmgen3, C. Milford4, F. J. Löpmeier3, P. Cellier2, P. Mikuška5, and M. A. Sutton4
1The Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), Petten, The Netherlands
2Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Thiverval-Grignon, France
3Federal Agricultural Research Centre, Braunschweig (FAL), Germany
4Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Edinburgh, UK
5Institute of Analytical Chemistry, ASCE, v.v.i., Brno, Czech Republic
*now at: Animal Sciences Group (ASG), Wageningen, The Netherlands

Abstract. Agricultural livestock represents the main source of ammonia (NH3) in Europe. In recent years, reduction policies have been applied to reduce NH3 emissions. In order to estimate the impacts of these policies, robust estimates of the emissions from the main sources, i.e. livestock farms are needed. In this paper, the NH3 emissions were estimated from a naturally ventilated livestock farm in Braunschweig, Germany during a joint field experiment of the GRAMINAE European project. An inference method was used with a Gaussian-3-D plume model and a local-scale dispersion and deposition model (FIDES-2-D). NH3 concentrations downwind of the source were used together with micrometeorological data to estimate the source strength over time. Mobile NH3 concentration measurements provided information on the spatial distribution of source strength. The estimated emission strength ranged between 6.0±0.17 kg NH3 d−1 (FIDES-2-D model) and 9.2±0.7 kg NH3 d−1 (Gaussian model). These estimates were 94% and 63% of what was obtained using emission factors from the German national inventory (9.6 kg d−1 NH3. However, the FIDES-2-D approach was shown to be very sensitive to the source size, the roughness height and to whether deposition was taken into account downwind of the source. Accounting for deposition in FIDES-2-D gives a potential emission estimate of 11.7 kg NH3 d−1, showing that deposition can explain the observed difference. The daily pattern of the source was correlated with net radiation and with the temperature inside the animal houses. The daily pattern resulted from a combination of a temperature effect on the source concentration together with an effect of variations in free and forced convection of the building ventilation rate. Further development of the plume technique is especially relevant for naturally ventilated farms, since the variable ventilation rate makes other emission measurements difficult.

Citation: Hensen, A., Loubet, B., Mosquera, J., van den Bulk, W. C. M., Erisman, J. W., Dämmgen, U., Milford, C., Löpmeier, F. J., Cellier, P., Mikuška, P., and Sutton, M. A.: Estimation of NH3 emissions from a naturally ventilated livestock farm using local-scale atmospheric dispersion modelling, Biogeosciences Discuss., 6, 825-862, doi:10.5194/bgd-6-825-2009, 2009.
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