Nitrogen deposition from aviation emissions

Flávio D.A. Quadros, Marijn van Loo, Mirjam Snellen, Irene C. Dedoussi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
100 Downloads (Pure)


Excess nitrogen deposition from anthropogenic sources of atmospheric emissions, such as agriculture and transportation, can have negative effects on natural environments. Designing effective conservation efforts requires knowledge of the contribution of individual sectors. This study utilizes a global atmospheric chemistry-transport model to quantify, for the first time, the contribution of global aviation NOx emissions to nitrogen deposition for 2005 and 2019. We find that aviation led to an additional 1.39 Tg of nitrogen deposited globally in 2019, up 72 % from 2005, with 67 % of each year's total occurring through wet deposition. In 2019, aviation was responsible for an average of 0.66 %, 1.13 %, and 1.61 % of modeled nitrogen deposition from all sources over Asia, Europe, and North America, respectively. These impacts are spatially widespread, with 56 % of deposition occurring over water. Emissions during the landing, taxi and takeoff (LTO) phases of flight are responsible for 8 % of aviation's nitrogen deposition impacts on average globally, and between 16 and 32 % over most land in regions with high aviation activity. Despite currently representing less than 1.2 % of nitrogen deposition globally, further growth of aviation emissions would result in increases in aviation's contribution to nitrogen deposition and associated critical loads.

Original languageEnglish
Article number159855
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Aircraft emissions
  • Aviation
  • Natura 2000
  • Nitrogen deposition
  • Reactive nitrogen


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