Long-Term Trend of Gaseous Ammonia Over the United States: Modeling and...

Yu, F., A. A. Nair, and G. Luo (2018), Long-Term Trend of Gaseous Ammonia Over the United States: Modeling and Comparison With Observations, J. Geophys. Res., 123, 8315-8325, doi:10.1029/2018JD028412.

The concentrations of atmospheric ammonia ([NH3]) have been observed to be increasing over the United States in the last decade, especially in Eastern United States. It is important to understand this temporal trend and variation due to the role of NH3 in particle formation and its ecological effects. Here the long-term trend of [NH3] over the United States is investigated using GEOS-Chem, a global 3-D tropospheric chemistry model, and is corroborated with empirical evidence from the Ammonia Monitoring Network. Model simulations, consistent with observations, show increase in [NH3] over the United States from 2001 to 2016, with magnitude largest in the East (~5% to 12%/year) and smallest in the West (~0% to 5%/year). Reasons for this are examined, and evidence for the role of decreasing SO2 and NOx emissions in increasing [NH3] is provided. The contributions of meteorology and NH3 emission changes to the [NH3] increase appear to be small during the period. Our sensitivity study suggests that decreasing SO2 and NOx emissions over the United States owing to stringent regulations explain about 2/3 and 1/3 of the increase in [NH3], respectively. This effect is different for various NH3 and SO2 and NOx regimes. Given the continued reduction of SO2 and NOx emissions due to U.S. regulations mainly aimed at PM2.5 reduction, the present results are important towards better assessing the environmental impact of emission controlling policies.

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Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)