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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-872
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-872
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  31 Aug 2020

31 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Role of ammonia in European air quality with changing land and ship emissions between 1990 and 2030

Sebnem Aksoyoglu1, Jianhui Jiang1, Giancarlo Ciarelli2, Urs Baltensperger1, and André S. H. Prévôt1 Sebnem Aksoyoglu et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. The focus of this modeling study is on the role of ammonia in European air quality in the past as well as in the future. Ammonia emissions have not decreased as much as the other secondary inorganic aerosol (SIA) precursors nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) since 1990s, and are still posing problems for air quality and the environment. In this study, air quality simulations were performed with a regional chemical transport model at decadal intervals between 1990 and 2030 to understand the changes in the chemical species associated with SIA under varying land and ship emissions. We analyzed the changes in air concentrations of ammonia, nitric acid, ammonium, particulate nitrate and sulfate as well as changes in the dry and wet deposition of ammonia and ammonium. The results show that the approximately 40 % decrease in SIA concentrations between 1990 and 2010 was mainly due to reductions of NOx and SO2 emissions. The ammonia concentrations on the other hand decreased only near the high emission areas such as the Netherlands and northern Italy by about 30 % while there was a slight increase in other parts of Europe. Larger changes in concentrations occurred mostly during the first period (1990–2000). The model results indicate a transition period after 2000 for the composition of secondary inorganic aerosols due to a larger decrease in sulfate concentrations than nitrate. Changes between 2010 and 2030 – assuming the current legislation (CLE) scenario – are predicted to be smaller than those achieved earlier for all species analyzed in this study. The scenario simulations suggest that if ship emissions will be regulated more strictly in the future, SIA formation will decrease especially around the Benelux area, North Sea, Baltic Sea, English Channel and the Mediterranean region, leaving more ammonia in the gas phase which would lead to an increase in dry deposition. In the North, the decrease in SIA would be mainly due to reduced formation of particulate nitrate while the change around the Mediterranean would be caused mainly by decreased sulfate aerosol concentrations. Sensitivity tests with reduced NOx and NH3 emissions indicate a shift in the sensitivity of aerosol formation from NH3 towards NOx emissions between 1990 and 2030 in most of Europe except the eastern part of the model domain.

Sebnem Aksoyoglu et al.

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Short summary
We performed simulations between 1990 and 2030 to understand the role of ammonia in European air quality under varying land and ship emissions. Our results show that the decrease in inorganic aerosol concentrations in the past was mainly due to reductions of NOx and SO2 emissions.On the other hand, particle formation will decrease in the future due to strict regulations of ship emissions, leaving more NH3 in the gas phase. Our results also indicate a shift in the sensitivity of aerosol formatio.
We performed simulations between 1990 and 2030 to understand the role of ammonia in European air...
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