Estimating the agricultural fertilizer NH3 emission in China based on the bi-directional CMAQ model and an agro-ecosystem model

Monday, 15 December 2014
Shuxiao Wang, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
Atmospheric ammonia (NH3) plays an important role in fine particle formation. Accurate estimates of ammonia can reduce uncertainties in air quality modeling. China is one of the largest countries emitting ammonia with the majority of NH3 emissions coming from the agricultural practices, such as fertilizer applications and animal operations. The current ammonia emission estimates in China are mainly based on pre-defined emission factors. Thus, there are considerable uncertainties in estimating NH3 emissions, especially in time and space distribution. For example, fertilizer applications vary in the date of application and amount by geographical regions and crop types. In this study, the NH3 emission from the agricultural fertilizer use in China of 2011 was estimated online by an agricultural fertilizer modeling system coupling a regional air-quality model and an agro-ecosystem model, which contains three main components 1) the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model, 2) the meso-scale meteorology Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and 3) the CMAQ air quality model with bi-directional ammonia fluxes. The EPIC output information about daily fertilizer application and soil characteristics would be the input of the CMAQ model. In order to run EPIC model, much Chinese local information is collected and processed. For example, Crop land data are computed from the MODIS land use data at 500-m resolution and crop categories at Chinese county level; the fertilizer use rate for different fertilizer types, crops and provinces are obtained from Chinese statistic materials. The system takes into consideration many influencing factors on agriculture ammonia emission, including weather, the fertilizer application method, timing, amount, and rate for specific pastures and crops. The simulated fertilizer data is compared with the NH3 emissions and fertilizer application data from other sources. The results of CMAQ modeling are also discussed and analyzed with field measurements. The estimated agricultural fertilizer NH3 emission in this study is about 3Tg in 2011. The regions with the highest emission rates are located in the North China Plain. Monthly, the peak ammonia emissions occur in April to July.