Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry

, Volume 75, Issue 4, pp 399–410 | Cite as

The impact of long-term regional air mass patterns on nutrient precipitation chemistry and nutrient deposition within a United States grassland ecosystem

  • Matt T. TrentmanEmail author


Changes in the frequency of precipitation as a result of a changing climate, as well as anthropogenic induced deposition of nitrogen (N), both have the potential to alter grassland productivity and diversity. Central U.S. weather patterns are dominated by three major air mass trajectories including regional sources from the Gulf of Mexico (marine tropical, Mt), the Pacific Northwest (mild pacific, mP), and the Desert Southwest (continental tropical, Ct). In this work, the Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory model was used to determine trends in the proportion of precipitation events from these air mass sources from 1983 to 2006 relative to Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS), KS. The annual volume-weighted mean (VWM) concentrations and wet deposition of a variety of precipitation dissolved solutes were linked to source regions north or south of KPBS. The proportion of precipitation events from Mt significantly increased, while the proportion of events from Ct and mP decreased significantly over the study period. The annual VWM concentrations of most solutes were typically higher from precipitation sourced to the north of KPBS. However, wet deposition of four ecologically relevant solutes (NH4+, NO3, H+, and SO4−2) was higher from events from the southern region, likely due to higher precipitation amounts. The proportion of reduced N increased significantly over the study period but was not affected by source region despite the higher use of fertilizers for agriculture in the northern source region. Given the location of this site relative to three dominant air mass paths, future shifts in these patterns will likely impact wet nutrient deposition.


Precipitation chemistry Wet deposition Konza prairie NADP HYSPLIT 



I thank the Konza Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) programs for support, and funding in part by the United States National Science Foundation Macrosystems grant #EF1065255. Also, the Konza LTER and National Atmospheric Deposition Program for access to data. This manuscript was improved by comments from two anonymous reviewers; the 2014 Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Trajectory model workshop at the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP) in College Park, Maryland; and the 2015 Kansas State Division of Biology Aquatic Journal Club. Comments and advice from Walter Dodds, Victoria Kelly, and William Schlesinger were especially helpful.

Supplementary material

10874_2018_9384_MOESM1_ESM.docx (202 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 202 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of BiologyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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