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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  03 Jul 2020

03 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

A climate-dependent global model of ammonia emissions from chicken farming

Jize Jiang1, David S. Stevenson1, Aimable Uwizeye2, Giuseppe Tempio2, and Mark A. Sutton3 Jize Jiang et al.
  • 1School of GeoSciences, The University of Edinburgh, Crew Building, Alexander Crum Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3FF, UK
  • 2Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Animal Production and Health Division, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
  • 3UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh, Bush Estate, Midlothian, Penicuik, EH26 0QB, UK

Abstract. Ammonia (NH3) has significant impacts on the environment, which can influence climate and air quality, and cause acidification and eutrophication in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Agricultural activities are the main sources of NH3 emissions globally. Emissions of NH3 from chicken farming are highly dependent on climate, affecting their environmental footprint and impact. In order to investigate the effects of meteorological factors and to quantify how climate change affect these emissions, a process-based model, AMmonia-CLIMate-Poultry (AMCLIM-Poultry) has been developed to simulate and predict temporal variations in NH3 emissions from poultry excretion, here focusing on chicken farms and manure spreading. The model simulates the decomposition of uric acid to form total ammoniacal nitrogen which then partitions into gaseous NH3 that is released to the atmosphere at hourly to daily resolution. Ammonia emissions are simulated by calculating nitrogen and moisture budgets within poultry excretion, including a dependence on environmental variables. By applying the model with global data for livestock, agricultural practice and meteorology, we calculate NH3 emissions from chicken farming at global scale (0.5° resolution). Based on 2010 data, the AMCLIM-Poultry model estimates NH3 emissions from global chicken farming of 5.5 Tg N yr−1, about 13 % of the agriculture-derived NH3 emissions. Taking account of partial control of the ambient environment for housed chicken (layers and broilers), the fraction of excreted nitrogen emitted as NH3 is found to be up to three times larger in humid tropical locations than in cold or dry locations. For spreading of manure to land, rain becomes a critical driver affecting emissions in addition to temperature, with the emission fraction being up to five times larger in the semi-dry tropics than in cold, wet climates. The results highlight the importance of incorporating climate effects into global NH3 emissions inventories for agricultural sources. The model shows increased emissions under warm and wet conditions, indicating that climate change will tend to increase NH3 emissions over the coming century.

Jize Jiang et al.

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Jize Jiang et al.

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Jize Jiang et al.


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Short summary
Ammonia is a key water and air pollutant, and impacts human health and climate change. Ammonia emissions mainly originate from agriculture. We find that chicken agriculture contributes to large ammonia emissions, especially in hot and wet regions. These emissions can be greatly affected by the local environment, i.e. temperature and humidity, and also by human management. We develop a model that suggests ammonia emissions from chicken farming are likely to increase under a warming climate.
Ammonia is a key water and air pollutant, and impacts human health and climate change. Ammonia...