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Title: Ammonia measurements and emissions from a California dairy using point and remote sensors

item MOORE, KORI - Space Dynamics Laboratory
item WOJCIK, MICHAEL - Space Dynamics Laboratory
item MARTIN, RANDAL - Utah Health Science Center
item GURELL, CASSI - L3 Communications Systems West
item BINGHAM, GAIL - Space Dynamics Laboratory
item Pfeiffer, Richard
item Prueger, John
item Hatfield, Jerry

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2013
Publication Date: 12/15/2013
Citation: Moore, K.D., Moore, E., Wojcik, M.D., Martin, R.S., Gurell, C., Bingham, G.E., Pfeiffer, R.L., Prueger, J.H., Hatfield, J.L. 2013. Ammonia measurements and emissions from a California dairy using point and remote sensors. Transactions of the ASABE. 57:181-198.

Interpretive Summary: Release of ammonia from agricultural operations is considered to be a potential source of environmental contamination; however, there are few detailed observations of the amount of ammonia being released from dairy operations. To address this problem we designed a study over a commercial dairy in California in which detailed observations were made during the summer month of June. These measurements included observations of ammonia obtained from a combination of passive samplers and open path spectrometers which permitted us to observe the effect of the dairy on changes in the atmospheric concentrations of ammonia. These observations showed ammonia values which were high compared to other studies reported in the literature but typical of other studies with observations during the summer. They also showed there was a large variation throughout the day with the largest ammonia concentrations during the late afternoon and early evening compared to the nighttime values. These observations provide insights into the amount of ammonia being released by dairy operations into the atmosphere. Understanding these dynamics for ammonia will help scientists quantify the effect of agricultural operations on air quality and policy makers understand the variation among agricultural operations and approaches for enhanced monitoring of agricultural operations.

Technical Abstract: Ammonia is an important trace species in the atmosphere that can have negative impacts on human, animal, and ecosystem health. Agriculture has been identified as the largest source of NH3, specifically livestock operations. NH3 emissions from a commercial dairy in the San Joaquin Valley of California were investigated during June 2008. The facility had a mix of free-stall pens and open lots, with lagoons used for solids separation and slurry storage. Passive sensors and open path Fourier transform spectrometers (FTS) were deployed at select points around the facility to measure NH3 concentrations. Incoming background concentrations were high, with an average ± 95% CI of 61.0 ± 3.5 µg m-3 (89.4 ± 5.1 ppbv). Emissions from both the pens and the slurry handling system were estimated using an inverse modeling technique incorporating the AERMOD dispersion model. Mean emission factors for the entire facility were 243.4 ± 78.2 g d-1 animal-1 from the passive sampler data and 256.5 ± 67.7 g d-1 animal-1 from FTS data. These emissions values are at the upper range for U.S. dairy NH3 emissions as found in the literature; however, multiple studies have shown emissions are generally highest during the summer. The emission from the slurry handling systems averaged 6.5 ± 4.0 g d-1 m-2 based on passive sampler data and 3.1 ± 1.6 g d-1 m-2 based on FTS data. Both concentration and emissions values exhibited a strong diurnal cycle, with the highest values for both concentration and emissions occurring in the evening hours. Emissions had strong positive correlations with temperature and wind speed.