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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
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Research article
12 Feb 2018
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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Modelled deposition of nitrogen and sulfur in Europe estimated by 14 air quality model-systems: Evaluation, effects of changes in emissions and implications for habitat protection
Marta G. Vivanco1, Mark R. Theobald1, Héctor García-Gómez1, Juan Luis Garrido1, Marje Prank2,3, Wenche Aas4, Mario Adani5, Ummugulsum Alyuz6, Camilla Andersson7, Roberto Bellasio8, Bertrand Bessagnet9, Roberto Bianconi8, Johannes Bieser10, Jørgen Brandt11, Gino Briganti5, Andrea Cappelletti5, Gabriele Curci12, Jesper H. Christensen11, Augustin Colette9, Florian Couvidat9, Kees Cuvelier13, Massimo D'Isidoro5, Johannes Flemming14, Andrea Fraser15, Camilla Geels11, Kaj M. Hansen11, Christian Hogrefe16, Ulas Im11, Oriol Jorba17, Nutthida Kitwiroon18, Astrid Manders19, Mihaela Mircea5, Noelia Otero20, Maria-Teresa Pay17, Luca Pozzoli6,21, Efisio Solazzo21, Svetlana Tsyro22, Alper Unal6, Peter Wind22,23, and Stefano Galmarini21 1Environmental Department, CIEMAT, Madrid, 28040, Spain
2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, FI00560, Finland
3Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14850, USA
4NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, 2007, Norway
5ENEA, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Via Martiri di Monte Sole 4, 40129 Bologna, Italy
6Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
7SMHI, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute Norrköping, Norrköping, Sweden
8Enviroware srl, Concorezzo, MB, Italy
9INERIS, Institut National de l'Environnement Industriel et des Risques, Parc Alata, 60550 Verneuil-en-Halatte, France
10Institute of Coastal Research, Chemistry Transport Modelling Group, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany
11Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Roskilde, DK-4000, Denmark
12Department of Physical and Chemical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
13Ex European Commission, Joint Research Centre JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability, I-21020 Ispra (Va), Italy
14European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK
15Ricardo Energy & Environment, Gemini Building, Fermi Avenue, Harwell, Oxon, OX11 0QR, UK
16Computational Exposure Division, National Exposure Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC
17BSC, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Centro Nacional de Supercomputación, Nexus II Building, Jordi Girona, 29, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
18Environmental Research Group, Kings' College London, London, UK
19Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Utrecht, The Netherlands
20IASS, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany
21European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra (VA), Italy
22Climate Modelling and Air Pollution Division, Research and Development Department, Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway), P.O. Box 43, Blindern, N-0313 Oslo, Norway
23Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
Abstract. The evaluation and intercomparison of air quality models is key to reducing model errors and uncertainty. The projects AQMEII3 and EURODELTA-Trends, in the framework of the Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollutants and the Task Force on Measurements and Modelling, respectively, (both task forces under the UNECE Convention on the Long Range Transport of Air Pollution, LTRAP) have brought together various regional air quality models, to analyze their performance in terms of air concentrations and wet deposition, as well as to address other specific objectives.

This paper jointly examines the results from both project communities by inter-comparing and evaluating the deposition estimates of reduced and oxidized nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) in Europe simulated by 14 air quality model-systems for the year 2010. An accurate estimate of deposition is key to an accurate simulation of atmospheric concentrations. In addition, deposition fluxes are increasingly being used to estimate ecological impacts. It is, therefore, important to know by how much model results differ, and how well they agree with observed values, at least when comparison with observations is possible, such as in the case of wet deposition.

This study reveals a large variability between the wet deposition estimates of the models, with some performing acceptably (according to previously defined criteria) and others underestimating wet deposition rates. For dry deposition, there are also considerable differences between the model estimates. An ensemble of the models with the best performance for N wet deposition was made and used to explore the implications of N deposition in conservation of protected European habitats. Exceedances of empirical critical loads were calculated for the most common habitats at a resolution of 100 × 100 m2 within the Natura 2000 network, and the habitats with the largest areas showing exceedances are determined.

Moreover, simulations with reduced emissions in selected source areas indicated a fairly linear relationship between reductions in emissions and changes in deposition rates of N and S. An approximately 20 % reduction in N and S deposition in Europe is found when emissions at a global scale are reduced by the same amount. European emissions are by far the main contributor to deposition in Europe, whereas the reduction in deposition due to a decrease of emissions in North America is very small and confined to the western part of the domain. Reductions in European emissions led to substantial decreases in the protected habitat areas with critical load exceedances (halving the exceeded area for certain habitats), whereas no change was found, on average, when reducing North American emissions, in terms of average values per habitat.

Citation: Vivanco, M. G., Theobald, M. R., García-Gómez, H., Garrido, J. L., Prank, M., Aas, W., Adani, M., Alyuz, U., Andersson, C., Bellasio, R., Bessagnet, B., Bianconi, R., Bieser, J., Brandt, J., Briganti, G., Cappelletti, A., Curci, G., Christensen, J. H., Colette, A., Couvidat, F., Cuvelier, K., D'Isidoro, M., Flemming, J., Fraser, A., Geels, C., Hansen, K. M., Hogrefe, C., Im, U., Jorba, O., Kitwiroon, N., Manders, A., Mircea, M., Otero, N., Pay, M.-T., Pozzoli, L., Solazzo, E., Tsyro, S., Unal, A., Wind, P., and Galmarini, S.: Modelled deposition of nitrogen and sulfur in Europe estimated by 14 air quality model-systems: Evaluation, effects of changes in emissions and implications for habitat protection, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,, in review, 2018.
Marta G. Vivanco et al.
Marta G. Vivanco et al.
Marta G. Vivanco et al.


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