Atmospheric deposition maps for the Rocky Mountains

  • Nanus L
  • Campbell D
  • Ingersoll G
 et al. 
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Variability in atmospheric deposition across the Rocky Mountains is influenced by elevation, slope, aspect, and precipitation amount and by regional and local sources of air pollution. To improve estimates of deposition in mountainous regions, maps of average annual atmospheric deposition loadings of nitrate, sulfate, and acidity were developed for the Rocky Mountains by using spatial statistics. A parameter-elevation regressions on independent slopes model (PRISM) was incorporated to account for variations in precipitation amount over mountainous regions. Chemical data were obtained from the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network and from annual snowpack surveys conducted by the US Geological Survey and National Park Service, in cooperation with other Federal, State and local agencies. Surface concentration maps were created by ordinary kriging in a geographic information system, using a local trend and mathematical model to estimate the spatial variance. Atmospheric-deposition maps were constructed at 1-km resolution by multiplying surface concentrations from the kriged grid and estimates of precipitation amount from the PRISM model. Maps indicate an increasing spatial trend in concentration and deposition of the modeled constituents, particularly nitrate and sulfate, from north to south throughout the Rocky Mountains and identify hot-spots of atmospheric deposition that result from combined local and regional sources of air pollution. Highest nitrate (2.5-3.0kg/ha N) and sulfate (10.0-12.0kg/ha SO4) deposition is found in northern Colorado.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Atmospheric deposition
  • GIS
  • Kriging
  • Precipitation chemistry
  • Rocky Mountains

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  • Leora Nanus

  • Donald H. Campbell

  • George P. Ingersoll

  • David W. Clow

  • M. Alisa Mast

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