Nitrogen Loading in Coastal Water Bodies : An Atmospheric Perspective
Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Coastal and Estuarine Studies, Volume 57.
Every time it rains, biologically active nitrogen compounds are transferred from the air to whatever surface lies underneath; what a farmer once called the poor man's fertilizer. In fact, nitrogen containing compounds are transferred between surface and atmosphere even when it is not raining. That this atmospheric nitrogen deposition impacts on the environment is a scientifically accepted fact, established during the acid rain debates led by the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program. The extent to which this deposition contributes to the decline of coastal waters around the United States due to over fertilization, however, is still under debate. In response to and as a continuation of this debate is the current work before you: the first attempt to consistently and comprehensively estimate the relative contribution of atmospherically delivered nitrogen to the total amount of nitrogen entering coastal estuaries around the United States.