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Keywords:

  • deposition;
  • climate change;
  • moels-3

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions and Implications
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References
  9. Supporting Information

[1] Potential impacts of global climate change and emissions on the total nitrogen and sulfur deposition over the US are investigated. Three future years' annual average deposition rates (i.e., 2049–2051) are compared with historic ones (i.e., 2000–2002) accounting for existing US and individual State's emission regulations and strategies. Impacts of global climate change alone on regional nitrogen and sulfur deposition are small compared to impacts from emission control-related reductions for the projections used in this study. The combined effect of climate change and emission reductions is a decrease in the annual average nitrogen and sulfur deposition over the US. Reduced nitrogen species dominate oxidized nitrogen deposition in the future. Spatial distribution plots for both components show lower deposition rates in the future mainly in the middle and eastern States where reductions in NOx and SO2 emissions are more pronounced.

1. Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions and Implications
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References
  9. Supporting Information

[2] Deposition of nitrogen and sulfur containing compounds on the earth's surface affects terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The resulting eutrophication and acidification caused by this deposition leads to changes in species distributions and a loss of biodiversity [Sanderson et al., 2006]. Sala et al. [2000] rank nitrogen deposition as the third greatest driver after land use and climate change for terrestrial ecosystem biodiversity. Jang et al. [2006] suggest water and inorganic nitrogen soil components as the key factors controlling methane oxidation rates in forest soils. Bragazza et al. [2006] link peat bog decomposition rates with atmospheric nitrogen deposition. As peat bogs are exceptional carbon sinks (their extremely low decomposition rates can accumulate plant remnants as peat), increased nitrogen deposition poses a serious risk to the valuable peatland carbon sink.

[3] Recent studies [e.g., Dentener et al., 2006; Sanderson et al., 2006; Phoenix et al., 2006] examined the effect of climate change on future deposition using global models. Sanderson et al. [2006] found an increasing risk of acidification in parts of the USA and southeast Asia between the present (1990s) and a century later (2090s) considering both climate change and pollutant emission increases under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) IS92a emissions scenario [IPCC, 1996], but noted acid deposition fluxes are subject to large uncertainties. Dentener et al. [2006] estimate that in 2000 the deposition of total reactive nitrogen (NOy + NHx) exceeds 2000 mgN m−2 yr−1 in much of the world, while 1000 mgN m−2 yr−1 is viewed as the critical nitrogen load above which changes in sensitive natural ecosystems may occur. Phoenix et al. [2006] compare recent (mid-1990) and future (2050) nitrogen deposition to 34 world biodiversity hotspots keeping climate constant and projected emissions for NOx and NH3 based on the IPCC IS92a emissions scenario [IPCC, 1996]. They found that the average deposition rate across these areas was 50% greater than the global terrestrial average in the middle-1990s and could more than double by 2050. 33 of 34 hotspots receive greater nitrogen deposition in 2050 compared to 1990. The authors conclude that many areas with significant amounts of the global floristic diversity are located near potential damaging future nitrogen deposition rates. Bergstrom and Jansson [2006] found that the atmospheric nitrogen deposition in excess of natural levels since the 20th century has caused nitrogen enrichment, eutrophication and increased mass of phytoplankton in lakes over Europe and North America.

[4] Langner et al. [2005] examined the impact of climate change on nitrogen and sulfur deposition in Europe. Using the IPCC IS92a [IPCC, 1996] emissions scenario they estimate that for the 2050–2070 period, deposition will be lower over western and central Europe due to the reduction in annual precipitation, although increased dry deposition partly compensates the decrease in wet deposition.

[5] Extending the work of Tagaris et al. [2007] examining the impacts of global climate change and emissions on air quality, this study assesses impacts on nitrogen and sulfur deposition over the US. This is the first study comparing future with historic deposition rates based on existing emission regulations and strategies for future emissions reduction and potential climate change; uncertainties in emissions projections and future meteorology are not considered. Two different cases are examined: In the first case impacts of changes on deposition in the US by climate change alone are examined by keeping emissions sources, activity levels and controls constant. In the second case future deposition levels are estimated based on changes in climate and emissions together [Leung and Gustafson, 2005; Woo et al., 2006; J. H. Woo et al., Development of North American Emission Inventories for Air Quality Modeling under Future Global Climate Change, submitted to Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association, 2007].

2. Methods

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions and Implications
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References
  9. Supporting Information

[6] Emission inventory, meteorology and air quality modeling approaches are presented by Tagaris et al. [2007] and are briefly described here. The 2001 US EPA Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) emission inventory (EI) (http://www.epa.gov/cair/technical.html) is used for the early 21st century. Projection of 2050 emissions from the 2001 base-year is done in two steps: (1) near future (2020) emissions projection is based on the 2020 EPA CAIR EI and (2) distant future (2050) emissions projection is carried out based on the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency's IMAGE model (http://www.mnp.nl/image) [Woo et al., 2006, also submitted manuscript, 2007]. The IPCC A1B emissions scenario is selected for the middle century projection in order to be consistent with the climate/meteorological modeling used here [IPCC, 2000].

[7] Meteorological fields for both current and future climate are derived from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) Global Climate Model (GCM) [Rind et al., 1999], which is applied at a horizontal resolution of 4° latitude by 5° longitude [Mickley et al., 2004]. The simulation covers the period 1950 to 2055. Observed greenhouse gas concentrations are used during 1950–2000 and the IPCC A1B emission scenario [IPCC, 2000] during 2000–2055 with CO2 as implemented in the Bern-CC model [IPCC, 2001]. Leung and Gustafson [2005] downscaled the GISS simulations for 1995–2005 and 2045–2055 using a regional climate model based on the Penn State/NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5) [Grell et al., 1994].

[8] The Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) Modeling System [Byun and Schere, 2006] with the Statewide Air Pollution Research Center's chemical mechanism (SAPRC-99) [Carter, 2000] is used for the regional air quality modeling. Predicted total nitrogen (NO, NO2, NO3, N2O5, HONO, HNO3, HONO4, RNO3, PAN, NH3, particulate NO3 and NH4) and total sulfur (SO2, H2SO4 and particulate SO4) deposition for a historic period (i.e., annual simulations for 2000–2002) are compared with a future period (i.e., annual simulations for 2049–2051) over the US (Figure 1). For the future period two different cases are examined. In the first case, the same emission inventory (i.e., 2001) is used for both historic and future simulations in order to estimate the effect of global climate change, alone, on deposition. Although the emission inventory is kept the same, emissions are not, as some pollutant emissions (e.g., biogenic and mobile sources) depend on meteorology. In the second case the combined effect of future emissions and climate on deposition is examined. Here, in both historic and future periods, boundary conditions are kept the same due to uncertainties in future global changes and to isolate how regional climate and emission changes drive deposition.

image

Figure 1. Modeling domain and regions examined.

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3. Results and Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions and Implications
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References
  9. Supporting Information

[9] A detailed discussion of the potential regional climate change over the US has been presented by Leung and Gustafson [2005]. Future temperature is simulated to be higher over the US (Figure 2a). Maximum average temperature increases are around 3 degrees over Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The minimum temperature increases for the US are between 1.0 and 1.5 degrees for the southeastern States (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana), along with Montana.

image

Figure 2. Average changes in (a) temperature and (b) precipitation based on the difference between (2049–2051) and (2000–2002) simulations.

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[10] Regional changes in precipitation up to ±5 cm yr−1 are simulated for the majority of the States in 2050s. Changes higher than ±20 cm yr−1 are expected over central Texas, south Minnesota (negative values) and the southeastern States (positive values). Extreme positive changes (higher than 50 cm yr−1) are simulated over the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico (Figure 2b).

[11] Regional changes in future emissions are detailed by Woo et al. [2006, also submitted manuscript, 2007]. 2050 emissions of NOx, SO2, PM2.5, anthropogenic VOC, and ammonia are expected to change by −55%, −55%, −30%, −40% and +20% for the US, respectively compared to 2001. The biggest reduction is expected over Midwest, Northeast and Southeast regions as CAIR achieves large reductions in SO2 and NOx emissions across 28 eastern States. Emission reductions in anthropogenic VOCs combined with the higher biogenic emissions in the warmer climate result in a small change in VOC emissions (+2%). For the case where only climatic changes are considered, VOC emissions are higher (+15%) in the future due to the temperature effect on biogenic and mobile sources; a minor increase in NOx and SO2 is also predicted.

[12] Model performance is evaluated by comparing observed and predicted annual average total nitrogen and sulfur depositions over the US using data from the Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET) (http://www.epa.gov/castnet). The simulated three year (2000–2002) average total nitrogen deposition is 48 mgN m−2 yr−1 overpredicted (9% high bias) for the US domain (ranging from 7 mgN m−2 yr−1 or 1% high bias in Northeast to 145 mgN m−2 yr−1 or 25% high bias in Southeast sub-region) while the average total sulfur deposition is 60 mgS m−2 yr−1 underpredicted (9% low bias) (ranging from 2 mgS m−2 yr−1 or 0.3% low bias in Southeast to 132 mgS m−2 yr−1 or 15% low bias in Northeast sub-region) (Tables 1a and 1b). Given that no data assimilation has been used for meteorological fields, model performance provides confidence in our ability to capture typical deposition levels and patterns. Performance (not shown) is better for sulfur wet deposition (27 mgS m−2 yr−1 underprediction or 7% low bias over US domain), sulfur dry deposition (33 mgS m−2 yr−1 underprediction or 14% low bias over US domain), and nitrogen wet deposition (88 mgN m−2 yr−1 underprediction or 23% low bias over US domain). Nitrogen dry deposition is less well captured; over the US domain the model simulates a 70% bias high (∼130 mgN m−2 yr−1).

Table 1a. Model Evaluation and Model Simulation for Nitrogen Depositiona
RegionModel EvaluationModel Simulation
HistoricHistoricFutureFuture No Emissions Projection
Observed TotalPredicted TotalTotal (Win, Spr, Sum, Aut)Oxidized ÷ Reduced Dry-WetTotal (Win, Spr, Sum, Aut)Oxidized ÷ Reduced Dry-WetTotal (Win, Spr, Sum, Aut)Oxidized ÷ Reduced Dry-Wet
  • a

    Observed and predicted annual average regional total nitrogen deposition for the historic period (2000–2002) and standard deviation (1σ) of the annual average for model evaluation, and annual average regional nitrogen deposition data (total, seasonal, wet, dry, oxidized/reduced nitrogen) for the historic (2000–2002), future (2049–2051), and future with no emissions projection periods for model simulation. Nitrogen deposition is in mgN m−2 yr−1.

West233 ± 14241 ± 19210 ± 9 (57, 51, 49, 53)2.2 139 – 71165 ± 3 (51, 43, 30, 41)0.97 95 – 70216 ± 2 (60, 55, 47, 54)2.2 140 – 76
Plains235 ± 50200 ± 35380 ± 2 (56, 103, 119, 102)1.4 191 – 189294 ± 14 (48, 79, 91, 76)0.7 142 – 152372 ± 12 (63, 100, 115, 94)1.5 200 – 172
Midwest803 ± 28898 ± 30836 ± 14 (150, 225, 240, 221)1.5 360 – 476567 ± 8 (113, 156, 145, 153)0.5 214 – 353818 ± 16 (162, 226, 210, 220)1.6 377 – 441
Northeast692 ± 65699 ± 62695 ± 13 (145, 180, 196, 174)2.5 331 – 364387 ± 5 (91, 99, 91, 106)0.7 142 – 245700 ± 11 (159, 181, 170, 190)2.5 339 – 361
Southeast574 ± 37719 ± 16673 ± 16 (183, 180, 147, 163)2.4 391 – 282434 ± 39 (136, 116, 93, 89)0.6 188 – 246669 ± 51 (198, 178, 146, 147)2.2 367 – 302
US558 ± 27606 ± 3485 ± 2 (98, 129, 133, 125)1.8 248 – 237338 ± 11 (76, 91, 86, 85)0.6 150 – 188479 ± 14 (105, 129, 124, 121)1.8 251 – 228
Table 1b. Model Evaluation and Model Simulation for Sulfur Depositiona
RegionModel EvaluationModel Simulation
HistoricHistoricFutureFuture No Emissions Projection
Observed TotalPredicted TotalTotal (Win, Spr, Sum, Aut)Dry-WetTotal (Win, Spr, Sum, Aut)Dry-WetTotal (Win, Spr, Sum, Aut)Dry-Wet
  • a

    Observed and predicted annual average regional total sulfur deposition for the historic period (2000–2002) and standard deviation (1σ) of the annual average for model evaluation, and annual average regional sulfur deposition data (total, seasonal, wet, dry) for the historic (2000–2002), future (2049–2051), and future with no emissions projection periods for model simulation. Sulfur deposition is in mgS m−2 yr−1.

West109 ± 1685 ± 556 ± 3 (21, 12, 8, 15)19 – 3746 ± 4 (18, 11, 5, 12)12 – 3460 ± 4 (22, 14, 8, 16)19 – 41
Plains112 ± 2188 ± 24216 ± 8 (30, 56, 70, 60)67 – 149150 ± 10 (25, 40, 47, 38)42 – 108210 ± 19 (34, 57, 66, 53)70 – 140
Midwest980 ± 90911 ± 11767 ± 28 (128, 208, 220, 211)265 – 502453 ± 15 (92, 127, 112, 122)131 – 322737 ± 30 (148, 212, 184, 193)274 – 463
Northeast894 ± 60762 ± 94770 ± 46 (148, 187, 243, 192)239 – 531311 ± 11 (68, 77, 79, 87)72 – 239774 ± 32 (165, 192, 204, 213)253 – 521
Southeast697 ± 40695 ± 14610 ± 42 (166, 159, 150, 135)239 – 371304 ± 22 (94, 79, 73, 58)83 – 221630 ± 41 (187, 161, 155, 127)222 – 408
US642 ± 43582 ± 23371 ± 16 (73, 97, 104, 97)128 – 243212 ± 7 (48, 57, 55, 52)59 – 153368 ± 14 (83, 99, 96, 90)129 – 239

[13] The annual average regional nitrogen deposition and the standard deviation (1σ) of the annual average equation image, N = 3, Xi stands for the regionally averaged annual deposition and equation image is the three year average value) over the US for the historic period is estimated to be 485 ± 2 mgN m−2 yr−1 (ranging from 210 ± 9 mgN m−2 yr−1 in the West to 836 ± 14 mgN m−2 yr−1 in the Midwest) giving 4.7 Tg as the budget of nitrogen deposited annually onto the continental US (Table 1a). Holland et al. [2005] estimate a total of 3.7–4.5 Tg nitrogen deposited annually onto the contiguous US, close to our estimate. Seasonal variation is noticeable in all US sub-regions while the oxidized fraction of total nitrogen deposition is greater than reduced due to the elevated NOx emissions. The dry deposition is greater than the wet deposition in the West and Southeast, but lower in the Midwest and Northeast, resulting in a similar contribution of wet and dry deposition to the total annual deposition averaged over the US. No significant change between the three consecutive years examined is noticed for regional average deposition but locally variation can be more pronounced (30% and 50% in interannual variability in nitrogen and sulfur deposition is noticed, respectively).

[14] Climate change alone seems to have a minor effect on the average dry (<6% change in various regions), wet (<9%) and total nitrogen deposition (<3%) (Table 1a). Wet deposition is modified more in the Southeast (+20 mgN m−2 yr−1 or 7%), Midwest (−35 mgN m−2 yr−1 or −7%) and Plains (−17 mgN m−2 yr−1 or −9%) following the change in precipitation. The same regions have the maximum change in dry deposition: Southeast (−24 mgN m−2 yr−1 or −6%), Midwest (+17 mgN m−2 yr−1 or 5%) and Plains (+9 mgN m−2 yr−1 or 5%). As a result, total nitrogen deposition is expected to change most in the Midwest (−18 mgN m−2 yr−1 or −2%)).

[15] The effect of climate change, activity growth and emissions controls decreases nitrogen deposition in all sub-regions ranging from −45 mgN m−2 yr−1 (−21%) in the West up to −308 mgN m−2 yr−1 (−44%) in the Northeast coming from the reduction in both dry and wet deposition. The total future nitrogen budget deposited annually onto the continental US is estimated to be 3.2 Tg, about 30% less than now. The largest reduction is simulated over the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast regions where the reduction in NOx emissions is more pronounced. This is the reason for the change in the oxidized nitrogen deposition; reduced nitrogen species are prevalent in all US sub-regions. Since forest land is the dominant land type covering the eastern US, changes in nitrogen fertilizer will mainly affect species biodiversity in these regions. Reduced nitrogen and sulfur loads will be more near pre-industrial conditions. Moreover, since grassland is substantially affected by nitrogen deposition [Sala et al., 2000] the reduced loading can decrease the productivity of invasive grasses that may cause less frequent fires. However, the loadings are still above pre-industrial levels and will continue to perturb the ecosystems. The spatial distribution of nitrogen deposition for the historic period (Figure 3) shows higher deposition rates in the Midwest States caused by the elevated NOx emissions in this sub-region [Woo et al., 2006, also submitted manuscript, 2007]. High NOx emissions result in high nitrogen deposition in the majority of northeastern and southeastern States, as well as eastern Texas. This is in agreement with other studies [e.g., Dentener et al., 2006]. For the future period, high nitrogen deposition rates are predicted in areas located in California, Iowa, North Carolina and lakes Michigan and Erie. However, future deposition rates are estimated to be lower compared to historic ones all over the US, particularly in the middle and eastern States, except from a small increase simulated mainly at central California and south Idaho. Climate change alone seems to have a minor impact on nitrogen deposition rates, similar with its impacts on regional air quality [Tagaris et al., 2007].

image

Figure 3. Average nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) deposition for the historic (2000–2002) (N1, S1), future (2049–2051) (N2, S2), and future_np (2049–2051) (N3, S3) periods and changes caused by the combined effects of future emissions and climate (N4, S4) as well as by climate change alone (N5, S5) (np: historic emission inventory and future meteorology).

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[16] The annual average regional sulfur deposition rates over the US for the historic period are estimated to be 371 ± 16 mgS m−2 yr−1 (ranging from 56 ± 3 mgS m−2 yr−1 in the West to 770 ± 46 mgS m−2 yr−1 in the Northeast) (Table 1b). No significant change between the three consecutive years examined is noticed for regional average deposition but seasonal variation is noticeable in all US sub-regions. Wet deposition rates are greater than dry deposition.

[17] Climate change alone seems to have a minor effect on the average dry (<7% change in various regions), wet (<10%) and total sulfur deposition (<7%) (Table 1b). Wet deposition is changed more in Midwest (−39 mgS m−2 yr−1 or −8%) and Southeast (+37 mgS m−2 yr−1 or 10%). Southeast appeared as the region with the maximum change in dry deposition (−17 mgS m−2 yr−1 or −7%) following by Northeast (+14 mgS m−2 yr−1 or 6%). As a result the total sulfur deposition is expected to change more in the Midwest (−30 mgN m−2 yr−1 or −4%) and Southeast (+20 mgS m−2 yr−1 or 3%).

[18] The effect of climate change combined with activity growth and emissions controls decrease sulfur deposition in all US sub-regions ranging from −10 mgS m−2 yr−1 (−18%) in the West up to −459 mgS m−2 yr−1 (−60%) in the Northeast due to the reduction in both dry and wet deposition. The biggest reduction is estimated over Northeast, Midwest and Southeast sub-regions due to the future applied SO2 emission strategies in these sub-regions [Woo et al., 2006, also submitted manuscript, 2007].

[19] The spatial distribution plot for the historic period (Figure 3) shows higher sulfur deposition rates over Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania due to the large SO2 emissions in these States [Woo et al., 2006, also submitted manuscript, 2007]. Moreover SO2 emissions in the eastern US results in high sulfur deposition over the east US cost. For the future period high sulfur deposition rates are predicted over Midwest and the lakes Michigan and Erie. Similarly to nitrogen, future sulfur deposition is estimated to be lower compared to historic rates over a majority of the US. Climate change alone has a minor impact on sulfur deposition rates.

4. Conclusions and Implications

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions and Implications
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References
  9. Supporting Information

[20] Total nitrogen and sulfur deposition in the future (i.e., 2049–2051) is simulated to be lower over the US compared to the historic period (i.e., 2000–2002) considering both climate change and planned controls on precursor emissions. Reductions in the Northeast, Midwest and Southeast sub-regions will be higher compared to West and Plains, responding to emission reductions (US EPA Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR)). Climate change, alone, with no emissions growth or controls has a minor impact on nitrogen and sulfur deposition rates. As such, climate change will not significantly impact environmental gains achieved from emissions controls.

Acknowledgments

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions and Implications
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References
  9. Supporting Information

[21] This work was supported by US EPA - STAR grants: RD83096001, RD82897602, and RD83107601. We would like to acknowledge Loretta Mickley (Harvard University) for the GISS simulations, L. Ruby Leung (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) for the MM5 data, Talat Odman, Yongato Hu, and Burçak Kaynak (Georgia Institute of Technology) for their assistance and suggestions, and the reviewers whose comments led to significant improvement of the paper.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions and Implications
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References
  9. Supporting Information
  • Bergstrom, A.-K., and M. Jansson (2006), Atmospheric nitrogen deposition has caused nitrogen enrichment and eutrophication of lakes in the Northern Hemisphere, Global Change Biol., 12, 635643.
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  • Mickley, L. J., D. J. Jacob, B. D. Field, and D. Rind (2004), Effects of future climate change on regional air pollution episodes in the United States, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L24103, doi:10.1029/2004GL021216.
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Supporting Information

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 1. Introduction
  4. 2. Methods
  5. 3. Results and Discussion
  6. 4. Conclusions and Implications
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. References
  9. Supporting Information
FilenameFormatSizeDescription
grl24437-sup-0001-t01a.txtplain text document2KTab-delimited Table 1a.
grl24437-sup-0002-t01b.txtplain text document2KTab-delimited Table 1b.

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