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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: development and technical paper 27 Aug 2019

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 27 Aug 2019

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

An improved mechanistic model for ammonia volatilization in Earth system models: Flow of Agricultural Nitrogen, version 2 (FANv2)

Julius Vira1, Peter Hess1, Jeff Melkonian2, and William R. Wieder3,4 Julius Vira et al.
  • 1Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 2Section of Soil and Crop Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 3Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307, USA
  • 4Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA

Abstract. Volatilization of ammonia (NH3) from fertilizers and livestock wastes forms a significant pathway of nitrogen losses in agricultural ecosystems, and constitutes the largest source of atmospheric emissions of NH3. This paper describes a major update to the process model FAN (Flow of Agricultural Nitrogen), which evaluates the NH3 emissions interactively within an Earth system model; in this work, the Community Earth System Model (CESM) is used. The updated version (FANv2) includes a more detailed treatment of both physical and agricultural processes, which allows the model to differentiate between the volatilization losses from animal housings, manure storage, grazed pastures, and from application of manure and different types of mineral fertilizers. FANv2 is connected to the interactive crop model within the land component of CESM, which determines the amount and timings of fertilizer applications for major types of crops. The model is first evaluated at local scale against experimental data for various types of fertilizers and manure, and subsequently run globally to evaluate present-day NH3 emissions. Comparison of regional emissions shows that FANv2 agrees with previous inventories for North America and Europe, and is within the range of previous inventories for China. However, due to higher NH3 emissions in Africa, India and Latin America, the global emissions simulated by FANv2 (47 Tg N) are 30–40 % higher than in the existing inventories.

Julius Vira et al.

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Julius Vira et al.

Model code and software

Community Land Model (CLM) with modifications for FANv2 J. Vira, P. Hess, J. Melkonian and W. R. Wieder (FANv2); University Corporation for Atmospheric Research - National Center for Atmospheric Research (CLM);

Julius Vira et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Atmospheric emission of ammonia from fertilizers and livestock manure constitutes a significant pathway of nutrient transport from agricultural to natural ecosystems. This study evaluates a model for simulating ammonia emissions and their response to climate change. The model is first compared with empirical data, and then applied globally. The simulated emissions are similar to earlier estimates for Europe, North America and China, but differ for Africa, India and South America.
Atmospheric emission of ammonia from fertilizers and livestock manure constitutes a significant...