Accounting for Field-Scale Dry Deposition in Backward Lagrangian Stochastic Dispersion Modelling of NH3 Emissions

Häni, Christoph; Flechard, Christophe; Neftel, Albrecht; Sintermann, Jörg; Kupper, Thomas (2018). Accounting for Field-Scale Dry Deposition in Backward Lagrangian Stochastic Dispersion Modelling of NH3 Emissions Atmosphere, 9(4), p. 146. MDPI 10.3390/atmos9040146

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A controlled ammonia (NH3) release experiment was performed at a grassland site. The aim was to quantify the effect of dry deposition between the source and the receptors (NH3 measurement locations) on emission rate estimates by means of inverse dispersion modelling. NH3 was released for three hours at a constant rate of Q = 6.29 mg s−1 from a grid of 36 orifices spread over an area of 250 m2. The increase in line-integrated NH3 concentration was measured with open-path optical miniDOAS devices at different locations downwind of the artificial source. Using a backward Lagrangian stochastic (bLS) dispersion model (bLSmodelR), the fraction of the modelled release rate to the emitted NH3 (Q bLS /Q ) was calculated from the measurements of the individual instruments. Q bLS /Q was found to be systematically lower than 1, on average between 0.69 and 0.91, depending on the location of the receptor. We hypothesized that NH3 dry deposition to grass and soil surfaces was the main factor responsible for the observed depletion of NH3 between source and receptor. A dry deposition algorithm based on a deposition velocity approach was included in the bLS modelling. Model deposition velocities were evaluated from a ‘big-leaf’ canopy resistance analogy. Canopy resistances (generally termed R c ) that provided Q bLS /Q = 1 ranged from 75 to 290 s m−1, showing that surface removal of NH3 by dry deposition can plausibly explain the original underestimation of Q bLS /Q . The inclusion of a dry deposition process in dispersion modelling is crucial for emission estimates, which are based on concentration measurements of depositing tracers downwind of homogeneous area sources or heterogeneously-distributed hot spots, such as, e.g., urine patches on pastures in the case of NH3.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Resource-efficient agricultural production systems
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Agriculture


Häni, Christoph0000-0003-1458-1849;
Flechard, Christophe;
Neftel, Albrecht;
Sintermann, Jörg and
Kupper, Thomas0000-0001-9459-1910


G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > Q Science (General)








David Zimmer

Date Deposited:

27 Aug 2019 12:05

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2020 13:29

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

backward Lagrangian stochastic model; atmospheric surface-layer; micrometeorological techniques; atmospheric ammonia; dry deposition; open-path measurements; differential optical absorption spectroscopy




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