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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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In this study, we integrated satellite constraints on atmospheric NH3 levels and fire intensity, discrete NH3 concentration measurement, and N isotopic analysis of NH3 in order to assess the regional-scale contribution of biomass burning to ambient atmospheric NH3 in the heartland of Southeast Asia. The combined approach provides a valuable cross-validation framework for source apportioning of NH3 in the lower atmosphere and will thus help to ameliorate predictions of biomass burning emissions.
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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1061
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1061

  11 Jan 2021

11 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Convergent Estimates of Biomass Burning-Derived Atmospheric Ammonia in Peninsular Southeast Asia

Yunhua Chang1, Yan-Lin Zhang1, Sawaeng Kawichai2, Qian Wang1, Martin Van Damme3, Lieven Clarisse3, Tippawan Prapamontol2, and Moritz F. Lehmann4 Yunhua Chang et al.
  • 1Yale-NUIST Center on Atmospheric Environment, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 2Research Institute for Health Sciences (RIHES), Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
  • 3Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Spectroscopy, Quantum Chemistry and Atmospheric Remote Sensing (SQUARES), Brussels B-1050, Belgium
  • 4Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Basel 4056, Switzerland

Abstract. Ammonia (NH3) is an important agent involved in atmospheric chemistry and nitrogen cycling. Current estimates of NH3 emissions from biomass burning (BB) differ by more than a factor of two, impeding a reliable assessment of their environmental consequences. Combining high-resolution satellite observations of NH3 columns with network measurements of the concentration and stable nitrogen isotope composition (δ15N) of NH3, we present coherent estimates on the amount of NH3 derived from BB in the heartland of Southeast Asia, a tropical monsoon environment. Our results reveal a strong variability of atmospheric NH3 levels in time and space across different landscapes. All evidence in hand suggests that anthropogenic activities are the most important modulating control with regards to the observed patterns of NH3 distribution in the study area. N-isotope balance considerations revealed that during the intensive fire period, the atmospheric input from BB accounts for not more than 21 ± 5 % (1σ) of the ambient NH3, even at the rural sites and in the proximity of burning areas. Our N-isotope based assessment of the variation of the relative contribution of BB-derived NH3 is further validated independently through the measurements of particulate K+, a chemical tracer of BB. Our findings underscore that BB-induced NH3 emissions in the tropical monsoon environments can be much lower than previously anticipated, with important implications for future modeling studies to better constrain the climate and air quality effects of wildfires.

Yunhua Chang et al.

Status: open (until 08 Mar 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Yunhua Chang et al.

Yunhua Chang et al.

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Short summary
In this study, we integrated satellite constraints on atmospheric NH3 levels and fire intensity, discrete NH3 concentration measurement, and N isotopic analysis of NH3 in order to assess the regional-scale contribution of biomass burning to ambient atmospheric NH3 in the heartland of Southeast Asia. The combined approach provides a valuable cross-validation framework for source apportioning of NH3 in the lower atmosphere and will thus help to ameliorate predictions of biomass burning emissions.
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