Impact of future land-cover changes on HNO3 and O3 surface dry deposition
Abstract. Dry deposition is a key component of surface–atmosphere exchange of compounds, acting as a sink for several chemical species. Meteorological factors, chemical properties of the trace gas considered and land surface properties are strong drivers of dry deposition efficiency and variability. Under both climatic and anthropogenic pressure, the vegetation distribution over the Earth has been changing a lot over the past centuries and could be significantly altered in the future. In this study, we perform a modeling investigation of the potential impact of land-cover changes between the present day (2006) and the future (2050) on dry deposition velocities at the surface, with special interest for ozone (O3) and nitric acid (HNO3), two compounds which are characterized by very different physicochemical properties. The 3-D chemistry-transport model LMDz-INCA is used, considering changes in vegetation distribution based on the three future projections, RCPs 2.6, 4.5 and 8.5, and present-day (2007) meteorology. The 2050 RCP 8.5 vegetation distribution leads to a rise of up to 7 % (+0.02 cm s−1) in the surface deposition velocity calculated for ozone (Vd,O3) and a decrease of −0.06 cm s−1 in the surface deposition velocity calculated for nitric acid (Vd,HNO3) relative to the present-day values in tropical Africa and up to +18 and −15 %, respectively, in Australia. When taking into account the RCP 4.5 scenario, which shows dramatic land-cover change in Eurasia, Vd,HNO3 increases by up to 20 % (annual-mean value) and reduces Vd,O3 by the same magnitude in this region. When analyzing the impact of surface dry deposition change on atmospheric chemical composition, our model calculates that the effect is lower than 1 ppb on annual-mean surface ozone concentration for both the RCP 8.5 and RCP 2.6 scenarios. The impact on HNO3 surface concentrations is more disparate between the two scenarios regarding the spatial repartition of effects. In the case of the RCP 4.5 scenario, a significant increase of the surface O3 concentration reaching locally by up to 5 ppb (+5 %) is calculated on average during the June–August period. This scenario also induces an increase of HNO3 deposited flux exceeding locally 10 % for monthly values. Comparing the impact of land-cover change to the impact of climate change, considering a 0.93 °C increase of global temperature, on dry deposition velocities, we estimate that the strongest increase over lands occurs in the Northern Hemisphere during winter, especially in Eurasia, by +50 % (+0.07 cm s−1) for Vd,O3 and +100 % (+0.9 cm s−1) for Vd,HNO3. However, different regions are affected by both changes, with climate change impact on deposition characterized by a latitudinal gradient, while the land-cover change impact is much more heterogeneous depending on vegetation distribution modification described in the future RCP scenarios. The impact of long-term land-cover changes on dry deposition is shown to be significant and to differ strongly from one scenario to another. It should therefore be considered in biosphere–atmospheric chemistry interaction studies in order to have a fully consistent picture.