EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Land use change and meteorology effect on atmospheric ammonia as seen by IASI

Rimal Abeed1, Camille Viatte1, Cathy Clerbaux1,2, Lieven Clarisse2, Martin Van Damme2, Pierre-François Coheur2, and Sarah Safieddine1
Rimal Abeed et al.
  • 1LATMOS/IPSL, Sorbonne Université, UVSQ, CNRS
  • 2Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Spectroscopy, Quantum Chemistry and Atmospheric Remote Sensing (SQUARES)

Agriculture contributes to air pollution and is affected by atmospheric composition, meteorology and climate change. One of the important gases emitted from agricultural activities is ammonia (NH3), which makes up a large portion of the anthropogenic reactive nitrogen in the environment. Agricultural ammonia emissions contribute to the formation of inorganic fine particulate matter (PM2.5), causing multiple negative effects on human health and the overall air quality. Many studies proved the capability of the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) instrument aboard the Metop satellites in measuring ammonia from space. The series of 3 instruments provides a continuous view of the global atmosphere since 2006, allowing us to study NH3 and many other pollutants relevant to air quality.

In this presentation, we explore the interaction between atmospheric ammonia on the one hand, and land and meteorological conditions on the other hand. To start, IASI NH3 total columns and ERA5 land surface temperatures are used to estimate the NH3 emission potential from the soil in agricultural fields. In addition to temperature, the emission potential is affected by the soil physical properties, fertilizer application practices and the concentrations of NH3 near the surface. The results are used to validate the emission potential of NH3 as derived from chemistry transport model (CTM) simulations.

Then, we look at the spatio-temporal variability of ammonia, focusing on different source regions around the globe. The NH3 land-atmosphere exchanges depend on land cover and land use management, and on meteorology. We study this relationship in two test regions and periods: an agricultural region in Syria that was subject to land use change during the conflict, and over agricultural regions around safe megacities.

In Syria we show that the detected changes in NH3 concentrations is driven by land use/cover rather than meteorology.

Over megacities, in particular, Paris, Toronto and Mexico, the result is quite different. We show that the NH3 variability is mainly driven by meteorology, and interestingly, we can detect the fertilizers application period by looking at the NH3 – temperature relationship.

How to cite: Abeed, R., Viatte, C., Clerbaux, C., Clarisse, L., Van Damme, M., Coheur, P.-F., and Safieddine, S.: Land use change and meteorology effect on atmospheric ammonia as seen by IASI, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-7650,, 2022.


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