Changes in the atmospheric deposition of acidifying compounds in the UK between 1986 and 2001

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0QB, UK.
Environmental Pollution (Impact Factor: 4.14). 10/2005; 137(1):15-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2004.12.028
Source: PubMed


Emissions of a precursor of acidity in precipitation, sulphur dioxide (SO2), declined in the UK and the EU (15) by 71% and 72%, respectively, between 1986 and 2001, while nitrous oxide emissions declined by about 40%. Acidity in UK precipitation and the deposition of sulphate in precipitation halved during this period, but reductions were larger in the English Midlands than at the west coast and in high rainfall areas (>2000 mm). There is evidence that the smaller reductions in sulphur deposition in the west and south are due in part to shipping sources of SO2. Reductions in sulphur dry deposition (74%) are larger than in wet deposition (45%), due to changes in the canopy resistance to dry deposition. For reduced nitrogen, there has been a small (10%) reduction in emissions and deposition, while for oxidized nitrogen, a substantial reduction in emissions (40%) occurred but wet deposition of nitrate changed by less than 10%.

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    • "While levels of atmospheric sulphur (S) have declined in recent years due to the effects of international agreements and protocols on S emissions, levels of atmospheric nitrogen (N) have largely remained constant in the last decade (Fowler et al., 2005). This implies that N species may be of increased relative importance in the deposition of acid anions, with possible inhibitory effects on ecosystem recovery following reductions in sulphur emissions (Curtis et al., 2005). "
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