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Deposition is a process where compounds in air come down and stay in the soil or water. This page is a method about estimating deposition of different compounds.


How to estimate deposition for different compounds?


Default key: UcK5o1jtjD3DMLT5 [2]

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If there is no need to consider atmospheric chemistry, it can be assumed that everything that goes into the air eventually comes down. The question is: what is the geographical distribution of the deposition around the source?

For screening purposes, we can assume that the wind rose is a circle (especially if averaged over long periods of time), although in many places this is not true. However, meteorological information is not easily available and usable, and then the alternative is to not estimate anything. Therefore, a robust assumption is better than no estimate.

Many compounds of interest are naturally occurring compounds in small concentrations (such as metals), and many living organisms have developed some tolerance against exposure to these compounds. Therefore, if the exposure is very low (e.g. much smaller than natural background), we can assume that a very small deposition does not cause such increases in environmental concentrations that it would have any human or ecological impact. Thus, the critical question is this: what is the area where the deposition causes biologically significant increases in concentrations and thus exposures?

It is important to notice that if the deposition is very quick, the compound deposits near the source in high amounts, causing high exposures to very small area and small number of individuals. On the other hand, if the deposition is very low, the compound deposits in a very large area and a large number of individuals are exposed to biologically insignificant amounts. Therefore, there seems to be somewhere in between a deposition rate that causes the maximal health impact. What that deposition rate is, depends on the total emission, the threshold of biologically significant exposure, and the population distribution.

We can assume constant deposition rate as a function of distance from source, which results in exponential reduction of the compound in air:

M_r = M_0 * e^{-k r}

where M is the mass of compound (in kg) in air when it has traveled distance r, and k is a deposition rate constant. This will result in deposition rate S (in kg/m2):

S_r = \frac{-D(M_0 * e^{-k r})}{2 \pi r} = \frac{k M_0 e^{-k r}}{2 \pi r},

which is the negative derivative of the mass in the air at distance r, divided by the circumference of a circle centered around the source at that distance. Time is not involved in the equation, because we are observing the situation integrated over a proper time period.

This results in a robust equation with only two parameters, deposition rate k and emission M0 (and the emission is assumed to be known).


In calculating the deposition flux, the emissions from the two sources (direct and STP) are summed. [1]

 DEPtotal = (Elocal_{air} + Estp_{air})(Fass_{aer}*DEPstd_{aer} + (1-Fass_{aer}) DEPstd_{gas}	(682)

 DEPtotal_{ann} = DEPtotal \frac{Temission}{365}	 	(682)

Symbol Description Unit Status
Elocalair local direct emission rate to air during emission episode [kgc.d-1] O
Estpair local indirect emission to air from STP during episode [kgc.d-1] O
Fassaer fraction of chemical bound to aerosol [-] O
DEPstdaer standard deposition flux of aerosol-bound compounds at source strength of 1 kg.d-1 [kgc.m-2.d-1] D 0.01 mg /m2 /d [2]
DEPstdgas deposition flux of gaseous compounds as function of Henry's Law coefficient, at source strength of 1 kg.d-1 [kgc.m-2.d-1] D ?? mg /m2 /d [2]
Temission number of days per year that emission occurs [d.yr-1] O
DEPtotal total deposition flux during emission episode [kgc.m-2.d-1] O
DEPtotalann annual average total deposition flux [kgc.m-2.d-1] O

The S, D, O or P classification of a parameter indicates the status:

  • S Parameter must be present in the input data set for the calculation to be executed (there is no method implemented in the system to estimate this parameter; no default value is set).
  • D Parameter has a standard default value (most defaults can be changed by the user). Defaults are presented in the sub-module, where they are used in separate tables. Sets of changed default values can be saved.
  • U This parameter is ‘unspecified’, no default value is set.
  • O Parameter is output from another calculation (most output parameters can be overwritten by the user with alternative data).
  • P Parameter value can be chosen from a 'pick-list' with values.
  • c Default or output parameter is closed and cannot be changed by the user.
  • * An asterisk is added when a parameter can be set to a different value on the regional and continental spatial scale.

Mixing depths of compounds: 0.1 m in grassland soil, 0.2 m in agricultural soil.[3]

See also


  1. EUSES model 2.1, documentation: Chapter 3, "Model Calculations", page 296 [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 default value from EUSES model 2.1.2, assuming 1 kg /d emission and 2.78E-04 mg /m3 air concentration.
  3. default value from EUSES model 2.1.2

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