Submitted as: development and technical paper
11 Oct 2022
Submitted as: development and technical paper | 11 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

A dynamic ammonia emission model and the online coupling with WRF-Chem (WRF-SoilN-Chem v1.0): development and evaluation

Chuanhua Ren1, Xin Huang1,2, Tengyu Liu1,2, Yu Song3, Zhang Wen4, Xuejun Liu4, Aijun Ding1,2, and Tong Zhu3 Chuanhua Ren et al.
  • 1School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
  • 2Jiangsu Provincial Collaborative Innovation Center for Climate Change, Nanjing, China
  • 3College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 4College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China

Abstract. Volatilization of ammonia (NH3) from fertilizer application and livestock wastes is an overwhelmingly important pathway of nitrogen losses in agricultural ecosystems and constitutes the largest source of atmospheric NH3. The volatilization of NH3 highly depends on environmental and meteorological conditions, however, this phenomenon is poorly described in current emission inventory and atmospheric models. Here, we develop a dynamic NH3 emission model capable of calculating NH3 emission rate interactively with time- and spatial-varying meteorological and soil conditions. The NH3 flux parameterization relies on several meteorological factors and anthropogenic activity including fertilizer application, livestock waste, traffic, residential and industrial sectors. The model is then embedded into a regional WRF-Chem model and is evaluated against field measurements of NH3 concentrations and emission flux, and satellite retrievals of column loading. The evaluation shows a substantial improvement in the model performance of NH3 flux and ambient concentration in China. The model well represents the spatial and temporal variations of ambient NH3 concentration, indicating the highest emission in the North China Plain (NCP) and Sichuan Basin, especially during summertime. Compared with normal simulations using fixed emission inventory input, this model features superior capability in simulating NH3 emission flux and concentration during drastic weather changes like frontal activities and precipitation. Such advances in emission quantification also improve the model performance of secondary inorganic aerosol on synoptic scales. While more laboratory and field measurements are still needed for better parameterization of NH3 volatilization, the seamless coupling of soil emission with meteorology provides a better understanding of NH3 emission evolution and its contribution to atmospheric chemistry.

Chuanhua Ren et al.

Status: open (until 14 Dec 2022)

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Chuanhua Ren et al.

Chuanhua Ren et al.


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Short summary
Ammonia in the atmosphere has wide impacts on the ecological environment and air quality, and its emission from soil volatilization is highly sensitive to meteorology, making it challenging to be well captured in models. We developed a dynamic emission model capable of calculating ammonia emission interactively with meteorological and soil conditions. Such a coupling of soil emission with meteorology provides a better understanding of ammonia emission and its contribution to atmospheric aerosol.