Assessing contributions of agricultural and nonagricultural emissions to atmospheric ammonia in a Chinese megacity

Chang, Yunhua; Zou, Zhong; Zhang, Yanlin; Deng, Congrui; Hu, Jianlin; Shi, Zhihao; Dore, Anthony J.; Collett, Jeffrey L.. 2019 Assessing contributions of agricultural and nonagricultural emissions to atmospheric ammonia in a Chinese megacity. Environmental Science & Technology, 53 (4). 1822-1833.

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Ammonia (NH3) is the predominant alkaline gas in the atmosphere contributing to formation of fine particles—a leading environmental cause of increased morbidity and mortality worldwide. Prior findings suggest that NH3 in the urban atmosphere derives from a complex mixture of agricultural (mainly livestock production and fertilizer application) and nonagricultural (e.g., urban waste, fossil fuel-related emissions) sources; however, a citywide holistic assessment is hitherto lacking. Here we show that NH3 from nonagricultural sources rivals agricultural NH3 source contributions in the Shanghai urban atmosphere. We base our conclusion on four independent approaches: (i) a full-year operation of a passive NH3 monitoring network at 14 locations covering urban, suburban, and rural landscapes; (ii) model-measurement comparison of hourly NH3 concentrations at a pair of urban and rural supersites; (iii) source-specific NH3 measurements from emission sources; and (iv) localized isotopic signatures of NH3 sources integrated in a Bayesian isotope mixing model to make isotope-based source apportionment estimates of ambient NH3. Results indicate that nonagricultural sources and agricultural sources are both important contributors to NH3 in the urban atmosphere. These findings highlight opportunities to limit NH3 emissions from nonagricultural sources to help curb PM2.5 pollution in urban China.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0013-936X
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 13 Mar 2019 12:19 +0 (UTC)

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