Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
Biogeosciences, 6, 67–84, 2009

Special issue: Processes controlling the exchange of ammonia between grassland...

Biogeosciences, 6, 67–84, 2009

  13 Jan 2009

13 Jan 2009

Modelling the dynamic chemical interactions of atmospheric ammonia with leaf surface wetness in a managed grassland canopy

J. Burkhardt1, C. R. Flechard2, F. Gresens1, M. Mattsson3, P. A. C. Jongejan4, J. W. Erisman4, T. Weidinger5, R. Meszaros5, E. Nemitz6, and M. A. Sutton6 J. Burkhardt et al.
  • 1Institute for Crop Science and Resource Conservation, INRES-PE, University of Bonn, Karlrobert-Kreiten-Str. 13, 53115 Bonn, Germany
  • 2Soils, Agronomy and Spatialization Unit, UMR-SAS, INRA, 65, rue de St-Brieuc, 35042 Rennes, France
  • 3Plant and Soil Science Laboratory, University of Copenhagen (UoC), Faculty of Life Sciences, Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 4Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), Postbus 1, 1755 ZG Petten, The Netherlands
  • 5Department of Meteorology, Eötvös Loránd University (ELU), Pázmány Péter sétány 1/A, P.O. Box 32, 1518 Budapest, Hungary
  • 6Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Edinburgh Research Station, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0QB, UK

Abstract. Ammonia exchange fluxes between grassland and the atmosphere were modelled on the basis of stomatal compensation points and leaf surface chemistry, and compared with measured fluxes during the GRAMINAE intensive measurement campaign in spring 2000 near Braunschweig, Germany. Leaf wetness and dew chemistry in grassland were measured together with ammonia fluxes and apoplastic NH4+ and H+ concentration, and the data were used to apply, validate and further develop an existing model of leaf surface chemistry and ammonia exchange. Foliar leaf wetness which is known to affect ammonia fluxes may be persistent after the end of rainfall, or sustained by recondensation of water vapour originating from the ground or leaf transpiration, so measured leaf wetness values were included in the model. pH and ammonium concentrations of dew samples collected from grass were compared to modelled values.

The measurement period was divided into three phases: a relatively wet phase followed by a dry phase in the first week before the grass was cut, and a second drier week after the cut. While the first two phases were mainly characterised by ammonia deposition and occasional short emission events, regular events of strong ammonia emissions were observed during the post-cut period. A single-layer resistance model including dynamic cuticular and stomatal exchange could describe the fluxes well before the cut, but after the cut the stomatal compensation points needed to numerically match measured fluxes were much higher than the ones measured by bioassays, suggesting another source of ammonia fluxes. Considerably better agreement both in the direction and the size range of fluxes were obtained when a second layer was introduced into the model, to account for the large additional ammonia source inherent in the leaf litter at the bottom of the grass canopy. Therefore, this was found to be a useful extension of the mechanistic dynamic chemistry model by keeping the advantage of requiring relatively little site-specific information.

Final-revised paper