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Air monitoring helps anticipate possible ecosystem changes
Date:6/25/2008

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"Scientists believe the emissions from around eastern Colorado and the bordering states have resulted in detectable changes in the high alpine ecosystems," he said.

Auvermann joined a network of scientists monitoring such emissions about a year ago when his research team set up a monitoring site southeast of Canyon with wet and dry deposition measuring equipment. Deposition is the process in which particles or gases in the air settle to the ground, vegetation or water surfaces.

The wet deposition measurements are made as a part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, he said. The wet proportion is that which happens as a result of precipitation and its scrubbing effect.

Dry deposition, measured as a part of the Clean Air Status and Trends Network, is all the other particles and gases that happen to settle out of the air, he said.

While they are two separate projects, by measuring both in the same location, Auvermann said scientists can measure the total deposition.

Both sets of equipment are filling a void in the organizations' nationwide networks, he said. The closest wet deposition measurements are being made at Muleshoe and Goodwell, Okla. The nearest dry deposition equipment is even farther away, in Big Bend National Park. The Canonceta site sits about midway between the sites at Muleshoe and Goodwell.

"We're looking for long-term trends and whether they are increasing or decreasing," Auvermann said. "Wet deposition increases in wet years and decreases during a drought, so we have to take a longer-term view."

The site located along the rim of Ceta Canyon is free from influence of any single source of air pollution, he said. The wet measurements can include ammonia, nitrate, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur and the acidity of rain or snow.

The major nutrients of concern are nitrogen and sulfur, Auvermann said. Based on the first year of monitoring data, the total de
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Contact: Dr. Brent Auvermann
bauverma@ag.tamu.edu
806-677-5600
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications
Source:Eurekalert  

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