Detecting change in atmospheric ammonia following emission changes

Jan Willem Erisman, Albert Bleeker, Albrecht Neftel, Viney Aneja, Nick Hutchings, Liam Kinsella, Y. Sim Tang, J. Webb, Michel Sponar, Caroline Raes, Marta Mitosinkova, Sonja Vidic, Helle Vibeke Andersen, Zbigniew Klimont, Rob Pinder, Samantha Baker, Beat Reidy, Chris Flechard, Laszlo Horvath, Anita LewandowskaColin Gillespie, Marcus Wallasch, Robert Gehrig, Thomas Ellerman

Research output: Paper


The Working Group discussed the progress on the state of knowledge on deriving trends from measurements and their use to verify abatement measures or other causes for decrease in emissions of ammonia to the atmosphere. The conclusions from the 2000 Berne meeting (Menzi and Achermann 2001), the background review (Bleeker et al. 2009) and presentations during the session (Horvath et al. 2009; Tang et al. 2009; Webb et al. 2009), as well as the discussions served as input for the conclusions of this report. We have seen some clear advancement in closing the gap between the observed and expected values for reduced nitrogen, where we do get a better understanding of the reasons behind it. The long-term measurements that are available follow the emission trend. Current measurements make it possible to evaluate policy progress on ammonia emission abatement. Especially in those countries where there were big (>25%) changes in emissions, such as in the Netherlands and Denmark the trend is followed quite closely, especially when meteorology is well taken into account. In order countries, such as the UK, the trend was much smaller, but there was no gap between measurements and model estimates. In the Netherlands there still is an ammonia gap: a significant (30%) difference between emissions based ammonia concentrations and measurements. The trend is the same. The difference might be due to either an underestimation of the emission or an overestimation of the dry deposition. It is recommended to further explore this gap, especially by investigating the high temporal resolution measurements, improving the emission/deposition modeling, by having a model intercomparison with countries that use models that do not show a gap and finally by doing a thorough uncertainty analysis. On the European scale it is difficult to follow the emission changes, both because of lack of measurements, especially in the Eastern part of Europe and because of the confounding factor of the SO2 emission reductions, affecting the ammonium concentrations in aerosol and in rain water. It is recommended to fully implement the EMEP monitoring strategy and to improve the models in order to quantify the influence of a changing chemical climate. The EMEP monitoring strategy can be a good starting point for development of a strategy that is focused on the right questions. Therefore first it is necessary to evaluate policies and the indicators derived from them that need to be assessed (time and space). Using existing models a pre-modeling study should be done to select the monitoring sites that eventually will give you the answer to the basic (policy) question using improved models and assessment tools. The best and economic feasible instrumentation should be selected with an extensive QA/QC program to make the measurements comparable. After implementation, especially for trend evaluation, the monitors used should not be changed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2009
EventUNECE Edinburgh Expert Workshop under the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, CLRTAP 2006 - Leith, United Kingdom
Duration: dec. 4 2006dec. 6 2006


OtherUNECE Edinburgh Expert Workshop under the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, CLRTAP 2006
CountryUnited Kingdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry

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    Erisman, J. W., Bleeker, A., Neftel, A., Aneja, V., Hutchings, N., Kinsella, L., Tang, Y. S., Webb, J., Sponar, M., Raes, C., Mitosinkova, M., Vidic, S., Andersen, H. V., Klimont, Z., Pinder, R., Baker, S., Reidy, B., Flechard, C., Horvath, L., ... Ellerman, T. (2009). Detecting change in atmospheric ammonia following emission changes. 383-390. Paper presented at UNECE Edinburgh Expert Workshop under the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, CLRTAP 2006, Leith, United Kingdom.