1Tropical Marine Science Institute 14 Kent Ridge Road, National University of Singapore, 119223, Singapore
2Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, Engineering Drive 1, 117576, Singapore
3Division of Environmental Science and Engineering, National University of Singapore, Engineering Drive 1, 117576, Singapore
4Singapore Delft Water Alliance, National University of Singapore, Engineering Drive 1, 117576, Singapore
Abstract. A numerical modeling approach is proposed for the assessment of the nutrient loading of coastal waters from atmospheric sources. The 3-D eutrophication model NEUTRO was enhanced to simulate the spatial distribution and temporal variations of nutrients, planktons and dissolved oxygen due to atmospheric nutrient loadings. It was found that nutrient loading from the atmospheric wet and dry deposition was remarkable during hazy days, the contribution being between 2 and 8 times that of non-hazy days; the smoke haze was due to biomass burning in the Southeast Asian region as discussed in a companion paper on field observations. Atmospheric nutrient loads during hazy days can lead to anthropogenic eutrophication and chemical contamination. The importance of regional smoke haze events in relation to non-hazy days to atmospheric nutrient deposition in terms of their biological responses in the coastal water of the Singapore region was investigated. The percentage increases of surface water nutrients due to atmospheric deposition during non-hazy and hazy days from seawater baseline were estimated. Model computations showed that atmospheric fluxes might account for up to 17–88% of total mass of nitrate nitrogen in the water column during hazy days and 4 to 24% during non-hazy days, which might be a relatively significant contribution into regional eutrophication. The results obtained from the modeling study could be used for a better understanding of the energy flow through the marine food web, exploring various possible scenarios concerning the atmospheric deposition of nutrients onto the coastal zone and studying their impacts on water quality.