The influence of model grid resolution on estimation of national scale nitrogen deposition and exceedance of critical loads

Dore, A.J.; Kryza, M.; Hall, J.R.; Hallsworth, S.; Keller, V.J.D.; Vieno, M. ORCID:; Sutton, M.A. ORCID: 2012 The influence of model grid resolution on estimation of national scale nitrogen deposition and exceedance of critical loads. Biogeosciences, 9 (5). 1597-1609.

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The Fine Resolution Atmospheric Multi-pollutant Exchange model (FRAME) has been applied to model the spatial distribution of nitrogen deposition and air concentration over the United Kingdom at a 1 km spatial resolution. The modelled deposition and concentration data were gridded at resolutions of 1 km, 5 km and 50 km to test the sensitivity of calculations of the exceedance of critical loads for nitrogen deposition to the deposition data resolution. The modelled concentrations of NO2 were validated by comparison with measurements from the rural sites in the national monitoring network and were found to achieve better agreement with the high resolution 1 km data. High resolution plots were found to represent a more physically realistic distribution of nitrogen air concentrations and deposition resulting from use of 1 km resolution precipitation and emissions data as compared to 5 km resolution data. Summary statistics for national scale exceedance of the critical load for nitrogen deposition were not highly sensitive to the grid resolution of the deposition data but did show greater area exceedance with coarser grid resolution due to spatial averaging of high nitrogen deposition hot spots. Local scale deposition at individual Sites of Special Scientific Interest and high precipitation upland sites was sensitive to choice of grid resolution of deposition data. Use of high resolution data tended to generate lower deposition values in sink areas for nitrogen dry deposition (Sites of Scientific Interest) and higher values in high precipitation upland areas. In areas with generally low exceedance (Scotland) and for certain vegetation types (montane), the exceedance statistics were more sensitive to model data resolution.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 2 - Biogeochemistry and Climate System Processes > BGC - 2.1 - Quantify & model processes that control the emission, fate and bioavailability of pollutants
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Billett (to November 2013)
Boorman (to September 2014)
ISSN: 1726-4170
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Additional Keywords: nitrogen deposition, eutrophication, atmospheric transport model, ammonia, grid resolution, exceedance, critical load, ecosystem, FRAME
NORA Subject Terms: Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 21 May 2012 14:25 +0 (UTC)

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