Articles | Volume 15, issue 2
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 899–911, 2015
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 899–911, 2015

Research article 26 Jan 2015

Research article | 26 Jan 2015

Influence of local air pollution on the deposition of peroxyacetyl nitrate to a nutrient-poor natural grassland ecosystem

A. Moravek1,*, P. Stella1,**, T. Foken2,3, and I. Trebs1,*** A. Moravek et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Biogeochemistry Department, P. O. Box 3060, 55020 Mainz, Germany
  • 2Department of Micrometeorology, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstr. 30, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
  • 3Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research (BayCEER), University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
  • *now at: Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St. George St, M5S 3H6 Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • **now at: AgroParisTech, UMR INRA/AgroParisTech SAD-APT, Paris, France
  • ***now at: Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) Department, 5 avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux, 4362 Esch/Alzette, Luxembourg

Abstract. Dry deposition of peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) is known to have a phytotoxic impact on plants under photochemical smog conditions, but it may also lead to higher productivity and threaten species richness of vulnerable ecosystems in remote regions. However, underlying mechanisms or controlling factors for PAN deposition are not well understood and studies on dry deposition of PAN are limited. In this study, we investigate the impact of PAN deposition on a nutrient-poor natural grassland ecosystem situated at the edge of an urban and industrialized region in Germany. PAN mixing ratios were measured within a 3.5 months summer to early autumn period. In addition, PAN fluxes were determined with the modified Bowen ratio technique for a selected period. The evaluation of both stomatal and non-stomatal deposition pathways was used to model PAN deposition over the entire summer–autumn period. We found that air masses at the site were influenced by two contrasting pollution regimes, which led to median diurnal PAN mixing ratios ranging between 50 and 300 ppt during unpolluted and between 200 and 600 ppt during polluted episodes. The measured PAN fluxes showed a clear diurnal cycle with maximal deposition fluxes of ~−0.1 nmol m−2 s−1 (corresponding to a deposition velocity of 0.3 cm s−1) during daytime and a significant non-stomatal contribution was found. The ratio of PAN to ozone deposition velocities was found to be ~0.1, which is much larger than assumed by current deposition models. The modelled PAN flux over the entire period revealed that PAN deposition over an entire day was 333 μg m−2 d−1 under unpolluted and 518 μg m−2 d−1 under polluted episodes. Additionally, thermochemical decomposition PAN deposition accounted for 32% under unpolluted episodes and 22% under polluted episodes of the total atmospheric PAN loss. However, the impact of PAN deposition as a nitrogen source to the nutrient-poor grassland was estimated to be only minor, under both unpolluted and polluted episodes.

Final-revised paper