Scientific Objectives

The underlying goal of the DEBITS-II task is to promote and facilitate international atmospheric deposition research that will lead to a better understanding of responses and feedbacks of these processes within the earth system. The task is driven by scientific questions related to global atmospheric chemistry and activities are focused on regions where sensitive ecosystems and human health are strongly impacted. The specific scientific questions being addressed under the second phase of DEBITS are:

  • What are the atmospheric removal rates via dry and wet deposition of biogeochemically important trace species at regional to global scales?
  • What are the key processes regulating deposition (interactions between gas, aerosol, clouds and ecosystems)?
  • What are the roles of heterogeneous chemical processes in: modifying the chemical composition of atmospheric particles; partitioning between the gaseous and particulate phases; changes of the physico-chemical properties of aerosols; and causing changes in dry versus wet deposition?
  • What are the regional scale atmospheric budgets of key elements?
  • How can the use of numerical models assist in quantifying relationships between emissions and depositional fluxes and provide an integrated scientific assessment of the atmospheric C, S and N cycles, specifically at the regional scale?
  • How can deposition flux measurements be related to impact studies? (With special focus on the deposition of nitrogen, phosphorus and other species key for ecosystem functioning and hydrology.

To fulfill these objectives, the DEBITS program has defined a set of experimental and analytical protocols to assure data quality, and to secure the inter-comparison of the measurements of wet and dry deposits for all DEBITS stations. All DEBITS stations are encouraged to participate in the Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) laboratory intercomparisons and to accept the GAW data quality objectives and operating procedures, so as to facilitate the production of comparable data sets. DEBITS is a “contributing partner” of the GAW initiative.