Gaseous ammonia plays a crucial role in the earth’s atmosphere. Major sources of atmospheric ammonia include agriculture and fires. As the climate continues to change, the pattern of fires across the US will also change, leading to changes in ammonia emissions. This study examines four major science questions using satellite and in-situ data from 2010–2014: (1) How have concentrations of ammonia changed across the US? (2) How have the strength and frequency of fires changed? (3) How has this change in fires impacted ammonia emissions? (4) How does the US EPA NEI compare with the calculated emissions? Satellite and in-situ data were used to evaluate the annual concentrations of ammonia and to calculate the total ammonia emissions across the continental US. The results of this study showed that ammonia concentrations have slightly increased over the five-year period. The total fire number and the average fire radiative power have decreased, while the total yearly burn area has increased. The calculated ammonia emissions from fires on a national scale show an increasing trend and when compared with the US EPA NEI for ammonia emissions from fires, annual ammonia emissions are, on average, a factor of 0.49 higher than the NEI.
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Impact of Wildfires on Atmospheric Ammonia Concentrations in the US: Coupling Satellite and Ground Based Measurements
Published: 15 July 2016 by MDPI in The 1st International Electronic Conference on Atmospheric Sciences session Atmospheric Chemistry