Establishing the link between ammonia emission control and measurements of reduced nitrogen concentrations and deposition

Mark A. Sutton, Willem A.H. Asman, Thomas Ellermann, J. A. Van Jaarsveld, Karin Acker, Viney Aneja, Jan Duyzer, Laszlo Horvath, Sergey Paramonov, Marta Mitosinkova, Y. Sim Tang, Beat Achermann, Thomas Gauger, Jerzy Bartniki, Albrecht Neftel, Jan Willem Erisman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

44 Citations (Scopus)


In the context of international efforts to reduce the impacts of atmospheric NH3 and NH4+ (collectively, NHx, it is important to establish the link between NH3 emissions and monitoring of NHx concentrations and deposition. This is equally relevant to situations where NH3 emissions changes are certain (e.g. due to changed source sector activity), as to cases where NH3 abatement technologies have been implemented. Correct interpretation of adequate atmospheric measurements is essential, since monitoring data provide the only means to evaluate trends in regional NH3 emissions. These issues have been reviewed using available measurements and modelling from nine countries. In addition to historic datasets, the analysis here considers countries where NH3 source sector activity changed (both increases and decreases) and countries where NH3 abatement policies have been implemented. In The Netherlands an 'ammonia gap' was identified between the expected reduction and results of monitoring, and was attributed initially to ineffectiveness of the abatement measures. The analysis here for a range of countries shows that atmospheric interactions complicate the expected changes, particularly since SO2 emissions have decreased at the same time, while at many sites the few years of available data show substantial inter-annual variation. It is concluded that networks need to be established that speciate between NH3 and aerosol NH4+, in addition to providing wet deposition, and sample at sufficient sites for robust regional estimates to be established. Such measurements will be essential to monitor compliance of the international agreements on NH3 emission abatement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-185
Number of pages37
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003



  • Ammonia
  • Ammonium
  • Dry deposition
  • Emission abatement
  • International protocols
  • Wet deposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Sutton, M. A., Asman, W. A. H., Ellermann, T., Van Jaarsveld, J. A., Acker, K., Aneja, V., Duyzer, J., Horvath, L., Paramonov, S., Mitosinkova, M., Tang, Y. S., Achermann, B., Gauger, T., Bartniki, J., Neftel, A., & Erisman, J. W. (2003). Establishing the link between ammonia emission control and measurements of reduced nitrogen concentrations and deposition. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 82(2), 149-185.