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Volume 18, issue 14
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 10199–10218, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Special issue: Global and regional assessment of intercontinental transport...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 10199–10218, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Jul 2018

Research article | 17 Jul 2018

Modeled deposition of nitrogen and sulfur in Europe estimated by 14 air quality model systems: evaluation, effects of changes in emissions and implications for habitat protection

Marta G. Vivanco1, Mark R. Theobald1, Héctor García-Gómez1, Juan Luis Garrido1, Marje Prank2,3, Wenche Aas4, Mario Adani5, Ummugulsum Alyuz6, Camilla Andersson7, Roberto Bellasio8, Bertrand Bessagnet9, Roberto Bianconi8, Johannes Bieser10, Jørgen Brandt11, Gino Briganti5, Andrea Cappelletti5, Gabriele Curci12, Jesper H. Christensen11, Augustin Colette9, Florian Couvidat9, Cornelis Cuvelier13, Massimo D'Isidoro5, Johannes Flemming14, Andrea Fraser15, Camilla Geels11, Kaj M. Hansen11, Christian Hogrefe16, Ulas Im11, Oriol Jorba17, Nutthida Kitwiroon18, Astrid Manders19, Mihaela Mircea5, Noelia Otero20, Maria-Teresa Pay17, Luca Pozzoli21, Efisio Solazzo21, Svetlana Tsyro22, Alper Unal23, Peter Wind22,24, and Stefano Galmarini21 Marta G. Vivanco et al.
  • 1Environmental Department, CIEMAT, Madrid, 28040, Spain
  • 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, FI00560, Finland
  • 3Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14850, USA
  • 4NILU-Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, 2007, Norway
  • 5ENEA, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Via Martiri di Monte Sole 4, 40129 Bologna, Italy
  • 6Bahcesehir University Engineering and Natural Sciences Faculty. 34353 Besiktas Istanbul, Turkey
  • 7SMHI, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute Norrköping, Norrköping, Sweden
  • 8Enviroware srl, Concorezzo, MB, Italy
  • 9INERIS, Institut National de l'Environnement Industriel et des Risques, Parc Alata, 60550 Verneuil-en-Halatte, France
  • 10Institute of Coastal Research, Chemistry Transport Modelling Group, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Germany
  • 11Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Roskilde, 4000, Denmark
  • 12Department of Physical and Chemical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
  • 13Ex European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), 21020 Ispra (Va), Italy
  • 14European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK
  • 15Ricardo Energy & Environment, Gemini Building, Fermi Avenue, Harwell, Oxon, OX11 0QR, UK
  • 16Computational Exposure Division, National Exposure Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
  • 17BSC, Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Centro Nacional de Supercomputación, Nexus II Building, Jordi Girona, 29, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
  • 18Environmental Research Group, Kings' College London, London, UK
  • 19Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 20IASS, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany
  • 21European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra (VA), Italy
  • 22Climate Modelling and Air Pollution Division, Research and Development Department, Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway), P.O. Box 43, Blindern, 0313 Oslo, Norway
  • 23Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
  • 24Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway

Abstract. The evaluation and intercomparison of air quality models is key to reducing model errors and uncertainty. The projects AQMEII3 and EURODELTA-Trends, in the framework of the Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollutants and the Task Force on Measurements and Modelling, respectively (both task forces under the UNECE Convention on the Long Range Transport of Air Pollution, LTRAP), have brought together various regional air quality models to analyze their performance in terms of air concentrations and wet deposition, as well as to address other specific objectives.

This paper jointly examines the results from both project communities by intercomparing and evaluating the deposition estimates of reduced and oxidized nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) in Europe simulated by 14 air quality model systems for the year 2010. An accurate estimate of deposition is key to an accurate simulation of atmospheric concentrations. In addition, deposition fluxes are increasingly being used to estimate ecological impacts. It is therefore important to know by how much model results differ and how well they agree with observed values, at least when comparison with observations is possible, such as in the case of wet deposition.

This study reveals a large variability between the wet deposition estimates of the models, with some performing acceptably (according to previously defined criteria) and others underestimating wet deposition rates. For dry deposition, there are also considerable differences between the model estimates. An ensemble of the models with the best performance for N wet deposition was made and used to explore the implications of N deposition in the conservation of protected European habitats. Exceedances of empirical critical loads were calculated for the most common habitats at a resolution of 100  ×  100 m2 within the Natura 2000 network, and the habitats with the largest areas showing exceedances are determined.

Moreover, simulations with reduced emissions in selected source areas indicated a fairly linear relationship between reductions in emissions and changes in the deposition rates of N and S. An approximate 20 % reduction in N and S deposition in Europe is found when emissions at a global scale are reduced by the same amount. European emissions are by far the main contributor to deposition in Europe, whereas the reduction in deposition due to a decrease in emissions in North America is very small and confined to the western part of the domain. Reductions in European emissions led to substantial decreases in the protected habitat areas with critical load exceedances (halving the exceeded area for certain habitats), whereas no change was found, on average, when reducing North American emissions in terms of average values per habitat.

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Short summary
European wet and dry atmospheric deposition of N and S estimated by 14 air quality models was found to vary substantially. An ensemble of models meeting acceptability criteria was used to estimate the exceedances of the critical loads for N in habitats within the Natura 2000 network, as well as their lower and upper limits. Scenarios with 20 % emission reductions in different regions of the world showed that European emissions are responsible for most of the N and S deposition in Europe.
European wet and dry atmospheric deposition of N and S estimated by 14 air quality models was...
Final-revised paper