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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-256
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-256
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: development and technical paper 01 Oct 2019

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 01 Oct 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

The effect of satellite derived leaf area index and roughness length information on modelled reactive nitrogen deposition in north-western Europe

Shelley C. van der Graaf1, Richard Kranenburg2, Arjo J. Segers2, Martijn Schaap2,3, and Jan Willem Erisman1,4 Shelley C. van der Graaf et al.
  • 1Cluster Earth and Climate, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 1081 HV, the Netherlands
  • 2TNO, Climate Air and Sustainability, Utrecht, 3584 CB, the Netherlands
  • 3Institute for Meteorology, Free University Berlin, Berlin, 12165, Germany
  • 4Louis Bolk Institute, Driebergen, 3972, the Netherlands

Abstract. The nitrogen cycle has been continuously disrupted by human activity over the past century, resulting in almost a tripling of the total reactive nitrogen fixation in Europe. Consequently, excessive amounts of reactive nitrogen (Nr) have manifested in the environment, leading to a cascade of adverse effects, such as acidification and eutrophication of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and particulate matter formation. Chemistry transport models (CTM) are frequently used as tools to simulate the complex chain of processes that determine atmospheric Nr flows. In these models, the parameterization of the atmosphere-biosphere exchange of Nr is largely based on few surface exchange measurement and is therefore known to be highly uncertain. In addition to this, the input parameters that are used here are often fixed values, only linked to specific land use classes. In an attempt to improve this, a combination of multiple satellite products is used to derive updated, time-variant leaf area index (LAI) and roughness length (z0) input maps. As LAI, we use the MODIS MCD15A2H product. The monthly z0 input maps presented in this paper are a function of satellite-derived NDVI values (MYD13A3 product) for short vegetation types (such as grass and arable land) and a combination of satellite-derived forest canopy height and LAI for forests. The use of these growth-dependent satellite products allows us to represent the growing season more realistically. For urban areas, the z0 values are updated, too, and linked to a population density map. The approach to derive these dynamic z0 estimates can be linked to any land use map and is as such transferable to other models. We evaluated the resulting changes in modelled deposition of Nr components using the LOTOS-EUROS CTM, focusing on Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The implementation of these updated LAI and z0 input maps led to local changes in the total Nr deposition of up to ~ 30 % and a general shift from wet to dry deposition. The most distinct changes are observed in land use specific deposition fluxes. These fluxes may show relatively large deviations, locally affecting estimated critical load exceedances for specific natural ecosystems.

Shelley C. van der Graaf et al.
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Short summary
Chemical transport models (CTM) are important tools to determine the fate of reactive nitrogen (Nr) emissions. The parameterization of the surface-atmosphere exchange in CTMs is often only linked to fixed, land use dependent values. In this paper, we present an approach to derive more realistic, dynamic leaf area index (LAI) and roughness length (z0) input maps using multiple satellite products. We evaluate the effect on Nr concentration and deposition fields modelled in the LOTOS-EUROS CTM.
Chemical transport models (CTM) are important tools to determine the fate of reactive nitrogen...
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