Articles | Volume 7, issue 3
Development and technical paper
28 May 2014
Development and technical paper |  | 28 May 2014

An evaluation of ambient ammonia concentrations over southern Ontario simulated with different dry deposition schemes within STILT-Chem v0.8

D. Wen, L. Zhang, J. C. Lin, R. Vet, and M. D. Moran

Abstract. A bidirectional air–surface exchange scheme for atmospheric ammonia was incorporated into the Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport air quality model (STILT-Chem v0.8). STILT-Chem v0.8 was then applied to simulate atmospheric ammonia concentrations at 53 measurement sites in the province of Ontario, Canada for a six-month period from 1 June to 30 November 2006. In addition to the bidirectional scheme, two unidirectional dry deposition schemes were tested. Comparisons of modeled ammonia concentrations against observations show that all three schemes can reasonably predict observations. For sites with low observed ammonia concentrations, the bidirectional scheme clearly overestimated ammonia concentrations during crop-growing season. Although all three schemes tended to underestimate ammonia concentrations after mid-October and for sites with elevated observed concentrations, mainly due to underestimated NH3 emission inventory after mid-October and/or underestimated emission potentials for those sites, the bidirectional scheme performed better because of its introduction of compensation points into the flux calculation parameterization. In addition to uncertainties in the emission inventory, the results of additional sensitivity tests suggest that uncertainties in the input values of emission potentials in the bidirectional scheme greatly affect the accuracy of modeled ammonia concentrations. The use of much larger emission potentials in the bidirectional scheme and larger anthropogenic NH3 emission after mid-October than provided in the model emissions files is needed for accurate prediction of elevated ammonia concentrations at intensive agricultural locations.