Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Environmental Science and Policy

Major Professor

Noreen D. Poor, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arlene G. Laing, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Brinkmann, Ph.D.


Estuary, NO3 -, NH4 +, NOx, Sulfate


Atmospheric deposition of nitrogen has been implicated in the destruction of seagrass beds and in the decline of water quality of Tampa Bay, Florida. The objective of this research was to determine the tendency for air masses of different origins to wet-deposit nitrate and ammonium species to the bay.

Precipitation chemistry data was obtained via the NADP AIRMoN Gandy Bridge monitoring site for the period of 1 August 1996 through 31 December 2000. Rainfall events were classified by using the NOAA HYSPLIT trajectory model, precipitation chemistry data, and tropical storm history data. Average nitrate and ammonium concentrations and nitrogen fluxes were calculated based upon the chosen categories.

The average annual nitrogen flux for nitrate and ammonium were 2.1 kg/ha/yr and 1.4 kg/ha/yr, respectively. For trajectory-classified data, the lowest nitrate and ammonium nitrogen fluxes were observed with air masses from the west and south, over the Gulf of Mexico. The highest ammonium nitrogen flux was seen from trajectories from the east, while local trajectories demonstrated the highest average nitrate nitrogen flux. For chemically-classified data, the highest nitrate and ammonium fluxes were associated with the local combustion classification. Rainfall from tropical weather systems deposited lower average nitrate nitrogen fluxes than non-tropical events, but ammonium nitrogen fluxes were the same between tropical and non-tropical precipitation.

Even the events representing the cleanest air masses contributing precipitation to Tampa Bay had nitrate and ammonium concentrations more than two times the background concentrations associated with the northern hemisphere.