Atmospheric Nutrient Input to Coastal Areas - Reducing the Uncertainties



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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Ocean Office


A significant fraction of the total nitrogran entering coastal and estuarine ecosystems along the eastern U.S. coast arises from atmospheric deposition; however, the exact role of atmospherically derived nitrogan in the decline of the health of coastal, estuarine, and inland waters is still uncertain. From the perspective of coastal ecosystem eutrophication, nitrogen compounds from the air, along with nitrogen from sewage, industrial effluent, and fertilizers, become a source of nutrients to the receiving ecosystem. Eutrophication, however, is only one of the detrimental impacts of the emission of nitrogen containing compounds to the atmosphere. Other adverse effects include the production of tropospheric ozone, acid deposition, and decreased visibility (photochemical smog).


78 pages; available for download at the link below.


atmospheric nitrogen, coastal ecology, coastal zone management, nutrient loading, water pollution, eutrophication