Atmospheric input of nitrogen into the North Sea: ANICE project overview

Gerrit de Leeuw, Leo Cohen, Lise Marie Frohn, Gary Geernaert, Ole Hertel, Bjarne Jensen, Tim Jickells, Laura Klein, Gerard J. Kunz, Soren Lund, Marcel Moerman, Frank Müller, Britta Pedersen, Knut von Salzen, K. Heinke Schlunzen, Michael Schulz, Carsten A. Skjøth, Lise-Lotte Sorensen, Lucinda Spokes, Susanne TammElisabetta Vignati

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32 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the atmospheric nitrogen inputs into the coastal ecosystem (ANICE) project is to improve transport-chemistry models that estimate nitrogen deposition to the sea. To achieve this, experimental and modelling work is being conducted which aims to improve understanding of the processes involved in the chemical transformation, transport and deposition of atmospheric nitrogen compounds. Of particular emphasis within ANICE is the influence of coastal zone processes. Both short episodes with high deposition and chronic nitrogen inputs are considered in the project. The improved transport-chemistry models will be used to assess the atmospheric inputs of nitrogen compounds into the European regional seas (the North Sea is studied as a prototype) and evaluate the impact of various emission reduction strategies on the atmospheric nitrogen loads. Assessment of the impact of atmospheric nitrogen on coastal ecosystems will be based on comparisons of phytoplankton nitrogen requirements, other external nitrogen inputs to the ANICE area of interest and the direct nitrogen fluxes provided by ANICE. Selected results from both the experimental and modelling components are presented here. The experimental results show the large spatial and temporal variability in the concentrations of gaseous nitrogen compounds, and their influences on fluxes. Model calculations show the strong variation of both concentrations and gradients of nitric acid at fetches of up to 25km. Aerosol concentrations also show high temporal variability and experimental evidence for the reaction between nitric acid and sea salt aerosol is provided by size-segregated aerosol composition measured at both sides of the North Sea. In several occasions throughout the experimental period, air mass back trajectory analysis showed connected flow between the two sampling sites (the Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory on the North Norfolk coast of the UK and Meetpost Noordwijk, a research tower at 9km off the Dutch coast). Results from the METRAS/SEMA mesoscale chemistry transport model system for one of these cases are presented. Measurements of aerosol and rain chemical composition, using equipment mounted on a commercial ferry, show variations in composition across the North Sea. These measurements have been compared to results obtained with the transport-chemistry model ACDEP which calculates the atmospheric inputs into the whole North Sea area. Finally, the results will be made available for the assessment of the impact of atmospheric nitrogen on coastal ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2073-2094
Number of pages22
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Issue number18-19
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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