The integrated horizontal flux method is commonly used to estimate ammonia emission from field-applied manure. The method involves measuring the wind speed and ammonia concentration at various heights on a post in the middle of a manured plot. Wind speed and concentration profiles are subsequently fitted to these measurements. The product of the profiles represents the amount of ammonia displaced by the wind, and the calculated ammonia emission is based on integrating the product of the profiles along the height. A crucial step is the functional form of the profiles, and linear relationships employing the logarithm of the height are generally used. In this study, 160 Dutch emission experiments on grassland were re-analysed to evaluate alternative profiles for the concentration and wind speed. It is shown that an exponential concentration model usually provides a better fit than the commonly used profile and that the measurement error for the concentration should be modelled by means of a gamma distribution. Based on the re-analysis, this new model reduces the calculated ammonia emission by around 10%. It is further shown that adding a displacement parameter to the wind speed model only has a minor effect on the calculated emission. Finally, a simulation study reveals that misspecification of the concentration profile may lead to a relative bias of up to 27%, that the precision of the estimated emission can be improved by increasing the number of concentration measurements near the ground and that wind speed measurements at three heights could suffice.
- displacement height
- exponential concentration model
- gamma measurement errors
- log wind profile