Held, A; Wrzesinsky, T; Mangold, A; Gerchau, J; Klemm, O: Atmospheric phase distribution of oxidized and reduced nitrogen at a forest ecosystem research site, Chemosphere, 48, 697-706 (2002)
Atmospheric concentrations of gaseous NH3 and HNO3 and of particulate NH4+ and NO3- were measured during various seasons at a forest ecosystem research site in the "Fichtelgebirge" mountains in Central Europe. Air masses arriving at this site were highly variable with respect to trace compound concentration levels and their concentration ratios. However, the distributions of NH4+ and NO3- within the aerosol particle size spectra exhibited some very consistent patterns, with the former dominating the fine particle concentrations, and the latter dominating the coarse particles range, respectively. Overall, the particulate phase (NH4+ + NO3-) dominated the atmospheric nitrogen budget (particulate and gas phase, NH4+ + NO3- + NH3 + HNO3) by more than 90% of the median total mixing ratio in winter, and by more than 60% in summer. The phase partitioning varied significantly between the winter and summer seasons, with higher relative importance of the gaseous species during summer, when air temperatures were higher and relative humidities lower as compared to the winter season. Reduced nitrogen dominated over oxidized nitrogen, indicating the prevailing influence of emissions from agricultural activity as compared to traffic emissions at this mountainous site. A model has been successfully applied in order to test the hypothesis of thermodynamic equilibrium between the particulate and gas phases.

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