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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2016-761
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2016-761
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 30 Aug 2016

Research article | 30 Aug 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

Relating atmospheric N2O concentration to N2O emission strength in the U. S. Corn Belt

Congsheng Fu1,2, Xuhui Lee1,2, Timothy J. Griffis3, Edward J. Dlugokencky4, and Arlyn E. Andrews4 Congsheng Fu et al.
  • 1Yale-NUIST Center on Atmospheric Environment, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • 2School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
  • 3Department of Soil, Water, and Climate, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN, USA
  • 4Global Monitoring Division, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. Nitrous oxide (N2O) has a high global warming potential and depletes stratospheric ozone. The U. S. Corn Belt plays an important role in the global anthropogenic N2O budget. To date, studies on local surface N2O emission and the atmospheric N2O budget have commonly used Lagrangian models. In the present study, we used an Eulerian model – Weather Research and Forecasting Chemistry (WRF-Chem) model to investigate the relationships between N2O emission in the Corn Belt and observed atmospheric N2O mixing ratios. Modeled hourly N2O mixing ratios were combined with continuous atmospheric N2O measurements at the KCMP tall tower in Minnesota to constrain agricultural N2O emissions. The modeled spatial patterns of atmospheric N2O were validated against discrete observations at multiple tall towers in the NOAA flask network. After optimization of the surface flux, the model reproduced reasonably well the hourly N2O mixing ratios monitored at the KCMP tower. Agricultural N2O emissions in the EDGAR42 database needed to be scaled up by 19.0 to 28.1 fold to represent the true emission in the Corn Belt from June 1–20, 2010 – a peak emission period. Optimized total N2O emissions were 3.00–4.38, 1.52–2.08, 0.61–0.81 and 0.56–0.75 nmol m−2 s−1 from June 1–20, August 1–20, October 1–20 and December 1–20, 2010, respectively. The simulated spatial patterns of atmospheric N2O mixing ratios were in good agreement with the NOAA discrete observations during the strong emission peak in June. Such spatial patterns illustrate that the IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) underestimate of emissions is not dependent on tower measurement location.

Congsheng Fu et al.
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Status: closed
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Congsheng Fu et al.
Congsheng Fu et al.
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Short summary
To the best of our knowledge, no modeling studies have been published on the relationship between the spatial characteristics of agricultural N2O emissions and the atmospheric N2O mixing ratio at the regional scale. To fill this gap, we proposed a simple inverse analysis method based on tower measurements and an Eulerian model. According to our study, the N2O emissions from the U. S. Corn Belt is clearly estimated by IPCC, and such underestimate is not dependent on tower measurement location.
To the best of our knowledge, no modeling studies have been published on the relationship...
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