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- A pungent alkaline gas, a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen (NH3). It is formed naturally when bacteria decompose nitrogen-containing compounds, such as manures. Emissions of ammonia can be a problem in enclosed livestock facilities, and in the ambient air they may contribute to very fine particulate matter. Synthetic ammonia is used as a nitrogen fertilizer. Also called anhydrous ammonia, it is the basic feed stock for the production of all nitrogen fertilizers as well as being a direct application material. Synthetic ammonia is made through a reaction between natural gas and nitrogen.
- The molecular formula for ammonia is NH3. Ammonia is one of the most important inorganic nitrogen compounds in atmospheric water droplets. It reacts with strong acids and is one of the only known basic, gas phase atmospheric components. Atmospheric ammonia can also enhance the nucleation rate and the production of new particles in the atmosphere. These new particles can be activated to become condensation nuclei and then, through various processes, grow to a particle size of 0.05 micrometer or larger which can then be effective as cloud condensation nuclei. This process can, therefore, affect the global radiation budget. The major sources of ammonia are decaying natural organic matter, livestock wastes, fertilizers, and industrial activity.
[Atmospheric Change: an Earth system perspective; T.E. Graedel, Paul J. Crutzen; page 157; 1993; W.H. Freeman and Company; New York.]
Source: Atmospheric Chemistry Glossary