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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 09 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 09 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Constraining Ammonia Emissions in Vehicle Plumes Utilizing Nitrogen Stable Isotopes

Wendell W. Walters1,2, Linlin Song3,4,5, Jiajue Chai1,2, Yunting Fang3,4,5, Nadia Colombi1, and Meredith G. Hastings1,2 Wendell W. Walters et al.
  • 1Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
  • 2Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
  • 3CAS Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Management, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, Liaoning, 110016, China
  • 4Key Laboratoryof Stable Isotope Techniques and Applications, Shenyang,Liaoning, 110016,China
  • 5College of Sources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Abstract. Vehicle emissions have been identified as an important urban source of ammonia (NH3). However, there are large uncertainties regarding the contribution of vehicle emissions to urban NH3 budgets, as well as its role in spatiotemporal fine particulate matter (PM2.5) formation and nitrogen (N) deposition patterns. The N stable isotopic composition (δ15N) may be a useful observational constraint to track NH3 emission sources and chemical processing, but previously reported vehicle δ15N(NH3) emission signatures have reported a wide range of values, indicating the need for further refinement. Here we have characterized δ15N(NH3) spatiotemporal variabilities from vehicle plumes in stationary and on-road measurements in the US and China using a laboratory- and field-verified NH3 collection technique shown to be accurate for characterizing δ15N(NH3) on the order of hourly time resolution. Significant spatial and temporal δ15N(NH3) variabilities were observed and suggested to be driven by vehicle fleet composition and influences from NH3 dry deposition on tunnel surfaces. The reactive NH3 sink associated with particulate ammonium (pNH4+) formation was found to have a minimal impact on the vehicle plume δ15N(NH3) measurements due to the vast majority of NHx (= NH3 + pNH4+) residing as NH3. Overall, a consistent δ15N(NH3) signature of 6.6 ± 2.1 ‰ (x ± 1σ; n = 80) was found in vehicle plumes with fleet compositions typical of urban regions. Overall, these measurements constrain the δ15N(NH3) urban traffic plume signature, which has important implications for tracking vehicle NH3 in urban-affected areas.

Wendell W. Walters et al.

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Status: open (until 04 May 2020)
Status: open (until 04 May 2020)
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Wendell W. Walters et al.

Data sets

Data for "Constraining Ammonia Emissions in Traffic-Derived Plumes Utilizing Nitrogen Stable Isotopes" We. W. Walters, L. Song, J. Chai, Y. Fang, N. Colombi, and M. G. Hastings

Wendell W. Walters et al.


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