Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1381
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1381
05 Jul 2024
 | 05 Jul 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Measurement Report: Changes of ammonia emissions since the 18th century in south-eastern Europe inferred from an Elbrus (Caucasus, Russia) ice core record

Michel Legrand, Mstislav Vorobyev, Daria Bokuchava, Stanislav Kutuzov, Andreas Plach, Andreas Stohl, Alexandra Khairedinova, Vladimir Mikhalenko, Maria Vinogradova, Sabine Eckhardt, and Susanne Preunkert

Abstract. To investigate the historical levels of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) pollution in south-eastern Europe, a 182 m long ice core was extracted from Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus, Russia. This ice core contains a record of ammonium (NH4+) levels from ~1750 CE (Common Era) to 2009 CE. The NH4+ ice core record indicates a 3.5-fold increase of annual concentrations from 34 ± 7 ng g-1 (~1750–1830) to 117 ± 23 ng g-1 over the recent decades (1980–2009). The increase remained moderate until 1950 CE (mean concentration of 49 ± 14 ng g-1 over the 1830–1950 period), and then accelerated to reach a maximum close to 120 ng g-1 in 1989. This ice core trend is compared to estimated past anthropogenic NH3 emissions in Europe by using state-of-the-art atmospheric transport modeling of submicron aerosols (FLEXPART model driven with 0.5° x 0.5° ERA5 reanalysis data). It is shown that in summer, when both vertical atmospheric mixing and agricultural NH3 emissions are strengthened, the NH4+ ice core trend is in good agreement with the course of estimated NH3 emissions from south-eastern Europe since ~1750 with a main contribution from south European Russia, Turkey, Georgia, and Ukraine. Examination of Mount Elbrus ice deposited over the second half of the 18th century when agricultural activities were less than 10% of those during the 1990s, suggest a pre-1750 annual NH4+ ice concentration related to natural emissions of 25 ng g-1. This pre-1750 natural level mainly related to natural soil emissions represents ~20% of the 1980–2009 NH4+ level, a level mainly related to current agricultural emissions that almost completely outweigh biogenic emissions from natural soils.

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Michel Legrand, Mstislav Vorobyev, Daria Bokuchava, Stanislav Kutuzov, Andreas Plach, Andreas Stohl, Alexandra Khairedinova, Vladimir Mikhalenko, Maria Vinogradova, Sabine Eckhardt, and Susanne Preunkert

Status: open (until 16 Aug 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1381', Anonymous Referee #1, 20 Jul 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1381', Anonymous Referee #2, 23 Jul 2024 reply
Michel Legrand, Mstislav Vorobyev, Daria Bokuchava, Stanislav Kutuzov, Andreas Plach, Andreas Stohl, Alexandra Khairedinova, Vladimir Mikhalenko, Maria Vinogradova, Sabine Eckhardt, and Susanne Preunkert

Data sets

Elbrus Ice Core, Caucasus record of ammonia (NH4+) Michel Legrand et al. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.12549687

Michel Legrand, Mstislav Vorobyev, Daria Bokuchava, Stanislav Kutuzov, Andreas Plach, Andreas Stohl, Alexandra Khairedinova, Vladimir Mikhalenko, Maria Vinogradova, Sabine Eckhardt, and Susanne Preunkert

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Short summary
A record of ammonium covering the years 1750 to 2008 was extracted from a 182-meter-long ice core drilled in 2009 at Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus, Russia. Changes in ammonia emissions in southeastern Europe during the pre-industrial and industrial periods were investigated. The level of ammonium in 1750 indicates a significant contribution of natural sources to the ammonia budget, contrasting with present-day conditions, where agricultural emissions outweigh those from biogenic sources in Europe.