Variability of Ammonia and Methane Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations in Northeastern Colorado

Levi M. Golston, Da Pan, Kang Sun, Lei Tao, Mark A. Zondlo, Scott J. Eilerman, Jeff Peischl, J. Andrew Neuman, Cody Floerchinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are major emitters of both ammonia (NH3) and methane (CH4). However, current emission inventories have limited temporal resolution and use data derived from a small subset of farms. To this end, we deployed three mobile laboratories during the DISCOVER-AQ campaign in summer 2014 with a focus on northeastern Colorado. Observations of NH3 and CH4 plumes downwind of 43 CAFOs were used to investigate the diurnal and site-to-site variability of emissions with an inverse area source plume modeling approach. Ammonia emissions scaled to all permitted animals in Weld, Morgan, and Larimer counties were estimated at 1.9 Gg month-1, 50% greater than the U.S. NEI 2014 and 360% greater than EDGAR for the month of August. Methane emissions were likewise estimated at 10.6 Gg month-1, consistent with the U.S. GHGI but 99% greater than EDGAR. Significant differences between individual CAFOs with repeat observations were also observed for both CH4 and NH3 emissions. The large subfarm, site-to-site, and diurnal variabilities observed show the importance of measurements taken across these scales in order to derive representative emission factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11015-11024
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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