Biogeochemistry

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 191–211

A global budget for atmospheric NH3

  • William H. Schlesinger
  • Anne E. Hartley
Article

Abstract

We provide an assessment of the global sources of NH3 in the atmosphere, which indicates an annual flux of about 75 Tg of N as NH3. The emissions from land are dominated by the release of NH3 during the hydrolysis of urea from the urine of domestic animals (32 TgN/yr) and by emanations from soils in unmanaged ecosystems (10 TgN/yr) and from fertilized agricultural soils (9 TgN/yr). Emissions from the sea surface may approach 13 TgN/yr. The total annual source of NH3 is in reasonable agreement with estimates of global NH4+ deposition from the atmosphere, the major fate of atmospheric NH3. As an alkaline atmospheric species, NH3 emitted to the atmosphere each year can neutralize only about 32% of the annual production of H+ in the atmosphere from natural and anthropogenic sources.

Key words

acid deposition ammonia volatilization cattle fertilizer fire nitrogen cycling soil nitrogen urea 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • William H. Schlesinger
    • 1
  • Anne E. Hartley
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Botany and GeologyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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