High-resolution inventory of ammonia emissions from agricultural fertilizer in China from 1978 to 2008
Abstract. The quantification of ammonia (NH3) emissions is essential to the more accurate quantification of atmospheric nitrogen deposition, improved air quality and the assessment of ammonia-related agricultural policy and climate mitigation strategies. The quantity, geographic distribution and historical trends of these emissions remain largely uncertain. In this paper, a new Chinese agricultural fertilizer NH3 (CAF_NH3) emissions inventory has been compiled that exhibits the following improvements: (1) a 1 × 1 km gridded map on the county level was developed for 2008; (2) a combined bottom-up and top-down method was used for the local correction of emission factors (EFs) and parameters; (3) the temporal patterns of historical time trends for 1978–2008 were estimated and the uncertainties were quantified for the inventories; and (4) a sensitivity test was performed in which a province-level disaggregated map was compared with CAF_NH3 emissions for 2008. The total CAF_NH3 emissions for 2008 were 8.4 TgNH3 yr−1 (a 6.6–9.8 Tg interquartile range). From 1978 to 2008, annual NH3 emissions fluctuated with three peaks (1987, 1996 and 2005), and total emissions increased from 3.2 to 8.4 Tg at an annual rate of 3.0 %. During the study period, the contribution of livestock manure spreading increased from 37.0 to 45.5 % because of changing fertilization practices and the rapid increase in egg, milk, and meat consumption. The average contribution of synthetic fertilizer, which has a positive effect on crop yields, was approximately 38.3 % (minimum: 33.4 %; maximum: 42.7 %). With rapid urbanization causing a decline in the rural population, the contribution of the rural excrement sector varied widely between 20.3 % and 8.5 %. The average contributions of cake fertilizer and straw returning were approximately 3.8 and 4.5 %, respectively, thus small and stable. Collectively, the CAF_NH3 emissions reflect the nation's agricultural policy to a certain extent. An effective approach to decreasing PM2.5 concentrations in China would be to simultaneously decrease NOx, SO2, and NH3 emissions.