How Atmospheric Ammonia is generated?

The Atmospheric Ammonia (NH3) generated primarily due to intense agricultural activities that includes use of fertilizers, pesticides and manure containing nitrogen.

Key Points

  • Due to prolonged and intense agricultural activities in a region, a cycle of nitrogen / ammonia exchange is established between the atmosphere and land.
  • Animal rearing, burning of biomass, forest fires and fossil fuel combustion also leads to increase in atmospheric ammonia.
  • Some studies mention that ammonia in atmosphere gets converted to fine particles of ammonia aerosols.
  • This upon contact with other pollutants like CO2, dust and Sulphur oxides forms a major contributor to deteriorate the air quality in a particular locality.

IIT Kharagpur Study

  • A study by IIT-Kharagpur researchers found the record high atmospheric ammonia in Indo-Gangetic plains.
  • Few European researchers and researchers of Indian Institute Of Tropical Meteorology, Pune also helped in the study.
  • As per the study, the Indo-Gangetic plain is a hub of NH3 due to the excessive production of fertilizer as well as excessive agricultural activities. The researchers collected the satellite data to find the relation between fertilizer production, NH3 and temperature.
  • The researchers analyzed the data from the year 2008 to 2016 and found that atmospheric ammonia increasing at a rate of 0.08% per year during the summer-monsoon season.
  • The researchers also found low levels of NH3 in China, the United States and Europe (around 1.8 to 2.61% per year) but in India the level is negative in almost all seasons.
  • Researchers have suggested the adoption of precision farming and restricted use of fertilizers to bring down the percentage of atmospheric ammonia.

The title of the study is “Record high levels of atmospheric ammonia over India: Spatial and temporal analyses” and it has been published in a magazine “Science of the Total Environment” and is published by Elsevier company.

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