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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-184
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-184
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 10 Apr 2019

Submitted as: research article | 10 Apr 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Estimating global surface ammonia concentrations inferred from satellite retrievals

Lei Liu1,2, Xiuying Zhang1, Anthony Y. H. Wong2, Wen Xu3, Xuejun Liu3, Yi Li4, Huan Mi5,2, Xuehe Lu1, Limin Zhao1, Zhen Wang1, and Xiaodi Wu1,6 Lei Liu et al.
  • 1International Institute for Earth System Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210023, China
  • 2Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • 3College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Centre for Resources, Environment and Food Security, Key Lab of Plant-Soil Interactions of MOE, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, China
  • 4Sunset CES Inc., Beaverton, OR, 97008, USA
  • 5College of Surveying and Geo-Informatics, Tongji University, 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai, China
  • 6Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing, 210023, China

Abstract. Ammonia (NH3), as an alkaline gas in the atmosphere, can cause direct or indirect effects on the air quality, soil acidification, climate change as well as human health. Estimating surface NH3 concentrations is critically important for modelling the dry deposition of NH3, which has important impacts on the natural environment. However, sparse monitoring sites make it challenging and difficult to understand the global distribution of surface NH3 concentrations both in time and space. We estimated the global surface NH3 concentrations for the years of 2008–2016 using the satellite NH3 observations combining its vertical profiles from the GEOS-Chem. The accuracy assessment indicates that the satellite-based approach has achieved a high predictive power for annual surface NH3 concentrations (R2 = 0.76 and RMSE = 1.50 μg N m-3). The satellite-derived surface NH3 concentrations had higher consistency with the ground-based measurements in China (R2 = 0.71 and RMSE = 2.6 μg N m-3) than the US (R2 = 0.45 and RMSE = 0.76 μg N m-3) and Europe (R2 = 0.45 and RMSE = 0.86 μg N m-3) at a yearly scale. Annual surface NH3 concentrations higher than 6 μg N m-3 are mainly concentrated in the North China Plain of China and Northern India, followed by 2–6 μg N m-3 mainly in southern and northeastern China, India, western Europe and eastern United States (US). High surface NH3 concentrations were found in the croplands in China, US and Europe, and surface NH3 concentrations in the croplands in China were approximately double than those in the croplands in the US and Europe. The liner trend analysis shows that a significant increase rate of surface NH3 concentrations (> 0.2 μg N m-3 y-1) appeared in the eastern China during 2008–2016, and a middle increase rate (0.1–0.2 μg N m-3 y-1) occurred in northern Xinjiang over China. NH3 increase was also found in agricultural regions in middle and eastern US with an annual increase rate of lower than 0.10 μg N m-3 y-1. The satellite-derived surface NH3 concentrations help us to determine the NH3 pollution status in the areas without monitoring sites and to estimate the dry deposition of NH3 in the future.

Lei Liu et al.
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Short summary
Agricultural production has greatly increased emissions of ammonia (NH3) to the atmosphere. Sparse measurements of surface NH3 concentrations make it challenging and difficult to understand the global distribution of surface NH3 concentrations both in time and space. Estimating surface NH3 concentrations is critically important for modelling the dry deposition of NH3, which has important impacts on the natural environment. This paper provides the satellite-based global assessment of surface NH3.
Agricultural production has greatly increased emissions of ammonia (NH3) to the atmosphere....
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