Articles | Volume 4, issue 9
Research article
09 Sep 2011
Research article |  | 09 Sep 2011

Determination of field scale ammonia emissions for common slurry spreading practice with two independent methods

J. Sintermann, C. Ammann, U. Kuhn, C. Spirig, R. Hirschberger, A. Gärtner, and A. Neftel

Abstract. At a cropland and a grassland site field scale ammonia (NH3) emissions from slurry application were determined simultaneously by two approaches based on (i) eddy covariance (EC) flux measurements using high temperature Chemical Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (HT-CIMS) and on (ii) backward Lagrangian Stochastic (bLS) dispersion modelling using concentration measurements by three optical open path Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) systems. Slurry was spread on the fields in sequential tracks over a period of one to two hours. In order to calculate field emissions, measured EC/HT-CIMS fluxes were combined with flux footprint analysis of individual slurry spreading tracks to parameterise the NH3 volatilisation with a bi-exponential time dependence. Accordingly, track-resolved concentration footprints for the FTIR measurements were calculated using bLS. A consistency test with concentrations measured by impingers showed very low systematic deviations for the EC/HT-CIMS results (<8%) but larger deviations for the bLS/FTIR results. For both slurry application events, the period during fertilisation and the subsequent two hours contributed by more than 80% to the total field emissions. Averaged over the two measurement methods, the cumulated emissions of the first day amounted to 17 ± 3% loss of applied total ammoniacal nitrogen over the cropland and 16 ± 3% over the grassland field.