Elevated reactive nitrogen (Nr) deposition is a concern for alpine ecosystems, and dry NH3 deposition is a key contributor. Understanding how emission hotspots impact downwind ecosystems through dry NH3 deposition provides opportunities for effective mitigation. However, direct NH3 flux measurements with sufficient temporal resolution to quantify such events are rare. Here, we measured NH3 fluxes at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) during two summers and analyzed transport events from upwind agricultural and urban sources in northeastern Colorado. We deployed open-path NH3 sensors on a mobile laboratory and an eddy covariance tower to measure NH3 concentrations and fluxes. Our spatial sampling illustrated an upslope event that transported NH3 emissions from the hotspot to RMNP. Observed NH3 deposition was significantly higher when backtrajectories passed through only the agricultural region (7.9 ng m−2 s−1) versus only the urban area (1.0 ng m−2 s−1) and both urban and agricultural areas (2.7 ng m−2 s−1). Cumulative NH3 fluxes were calculated using observed, bidirectional modeled, and gap-filled fluxes. More than 40% of the total dry NH3 deposition occurred when air masses were traced back to agricultural source regions. More generally, we identified that 10 (25) more national parks in the U.S. are within 100 (200) km of an NH3 hotspot, and more observations are needed to quantify the impacts of these hotspots on dry NH3 deposition in these regions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry