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Ammonia emissions may be substantially underestimated in China

Zhang, Xiuming; Wu, Yiyun; Liu, Xuejun; Reis, Stefan; Jin, Jiaxin; Dragosits, Ulrike; Van Damme, Martin; Clarisse, Lieven; Whitburn, Simon; Coheur, Pierre-Francois; Gu, Baojing. 2017 Ammonia emissions may be substantially underestimated in China. Environmental Science & Technology, 51 (21). 12089-12096. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b02171

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Abstract/Summary

China is a global hotspot of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) emissions and, as a consequence, very high nitrogen (N) deposition levels are documented. However, previous estimates of total NH3 emissions in China were much lower than inference from observed deposition values would suggest, highlighting the need for further investigation. Here, we reevaluated NH3 emissions based on a mass balance approach, validated by N deposition monitoring and satellite observations, for China for the period of 2000 to 2015. Total NH3 emissions in China increased from 12.1±0.8 Tg N yr-1 in 2000 to 15.6±0.9 Tg N yr-1 in 2015 at an annual rate of 1.9%, which is approximately 40% higher than existing studies suggested. This difference is mainly due to more emission sources now having been included and NH3 emission rates from mineral fertilizer application and livestock having been underestimated previously. Our estimated NH3 emission levels are consistent with the measured deposition of NHx (including NH4+ and NH3) on land (11-14 Tg N yr-1) and the substantial increases in NH3 concentrations observed by satellite measurements over China. These findings substantially improve our understanding on NH3 emissions, implying that future air pollution control strategies have to consider the potentials of reducing NH3 emission in China.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b02171
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Dise
ISSN: 0013-936X
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 16 Oct 2017 11:28 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/518058

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