Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 7, 16253-16282, 2007
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Biogenic emissions of NOx from recently wetted soils over West Africa observed during the AMMA 2006 campaign
D. J. Stewart1, C. M. Taylor2, C. E. Reeves1, and J. B. McQuaid3
1School of Environmental Sciences, UEA, Norwich, UK
2Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, UK
3School of the Environment, University of Leeds, UK

Abstract. Chemical and meteorological parameters measured on board the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) BAe 146 Atmospheric Research Aircraft during the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) campaign are presented to show the impact of NOx emissions from recently wetted soils in West Africa. NOx emissions from soils have been previously observed in many geographical areas with different types of soil/vegetation cover during small scale studies and have been inferred at large scales from satellite measurements of NOx. This study is the first dedicated to showing the emissions of NOx at an intermediate scale between local surface sites and continental satellite measurements. The measurements reveal pronounced mesoscale variations in NOx concentrations closely linked to spatial patterns of antecedent rainfall. Fluxes required to maintain the NOx concentrations observed by the BAe-146 in a number of cases studies and for a range of assumed OH concentrations (0 to 1×107 molecules cm–3) are calculated to be in the range 4.7 to 37.3 ng N m−2 s−1. These values are comparable to the range of fluxes from 2 to 83 ng N m−2 s−1 reported from small scale field studies in a variety of tropical and sub-tropical locations reported in the review of Davidson and Kingerlee (1997). The fluxes calculated in the present study have been scaled up to cover the area of the Sahel bounded by 10 to 20 N and 10 E to 20 W giving an estimated emission of up to 0.05 TgN from this area for July and August 2006. The observed chemical data also suggest that the NOx emitted from soils is taking part in ozone formation as ozone concentrations exhibit similar fine scale structure to the NOx, with enhancements over the wet soils. Such variability can not be explained on the basis of transport from other areas.

Citation: Stewart, D. J., Taylor, C. M., Reeves, C. E., and McQuaid, J. B.: Biogenic emissions of NOx from recently wetted soils over West Africa observed during the AMMA 2006 campaign, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 7, 16253-16282, doi:10.5194/acpd-7-16253-2007, 2007.
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