A methodology for the measurement of distributed agricultural sources of ammonia outdoors
Ammonia is the most prevalent alkaline gas in the atmosphere and plays an important role in environmental pollution through acidification and eutrophication. Livestock are the largest source of ammonia in the UK, mainly originating during storage and spreading of animal manure. The aim of this study was to validate the collection efficiency of recurved passive ammonia flux (PAF) samplers and the flux frame method to provide a robust methodology for measurement of distributed agricultural sources of ammonia outdoors. The collection efficiency of recurved PAF samplers was determined in a wind tunnel under controlled conditions of ammonia flux (0.771 - 13.49 mg NH3 m-2 s-1), and at angles of orientation to the flow direction (0, 30, 60, 70, 80, 90°). The samplers were effective up to a wind speed of 7 m s-1 and an angle of 80°, with a mean collection efficiency of 71%. The flux frame method had a mean collection efficiency of 87.4% when used with ground level point sources under controlled conditions in the Atmospheric Flow Laboratory. However, in controlled field releases, the efficiency fell to 56.4%. The flux frame method was also suitable for line sources, although assumptions must be made about the source homogeneity and plume dispersion. ADMS modelling was used to predict the collection efficiencies for the flux frame method and these agreed with measured collection efficiencies to within 37.3%. A comparison of source strengths determined using a full size flux frame and portions of the flux frame showed that a full size flux frame was unnecessary as one column of samplers produced a very similar estimate to that of the whole frame. The validated method was then used to measure ammonia emissions from free-range pigs. The amount of ammonia emitted from this source was very low and less than 0.16 g (kg of sow)-1 day-1.