# Isotopic constraints on the atmospheric sources and formation of nitrogenous species in clouds influenced by biomass burning

Predicting tropospheric cloud formation and subsequent nutrient deposition relies on understanding the sources and processes affecting aerosol constituents of the atmosphere that are preserved in cloud water. However, this challenge is difficult to address quantitatively based on the sole use of bulk chemical properties. Nitrogenous aerosols, mainly ammonium (${\mathrm{NH}}_{\mathrm{4}}^{+}$) and nitrate (${\mathrm{NO}}_{\mathrm{3}}^{-}$), play a particularly important role in tropospheric cloud formation. While dry and wet (mainly rainfall) deposition of ${\mathrm{NH}}_{\mathrm{4}}^{+}$ and ${\mathrm{NO}}_{\mathrm{3}}^{-}$ are regularly assessed, cloud water deposition is often underappreciated. Here we collected cloud water samples at the summit of Mt. Tai (1545 m above sea level) in eastern China during a long-lasting biomass burning (BB) event and simultaneously measured for the first time the isotopic compositions (mean ±1σ) of cloud water nitrogen species (${\mathit{\delta }}^{\mathrm{15}}\mathrm{N}\text{-}{\mathrm{NH}}_{\mathrm{4}}^{+}$ = 6.53 ‰ ± 4.96 ‰, ${\mathit{\delta }}^{\mathrm{15}}\mathrm{N}\text{-}{\mathrm{NO}}_{\mathrm{3}}^{-}$=2.35 ‰ ± 2.00 ‰, ${\mathit{\delta }}^{\mathrm{18}}\mathrm{O}\text{-}{\mathrm{NO}}_{\mathrm{3}}^{-}$ = 57.80 ‰ ± 4.23 ‰), allowing insights into their sources and potential transformation mechanism within the clouds. Large contributions of BB to the cloud water ${\mathrm{NH}}_{\mathrm{4}}^{+}$ (32.9 % ± 4.6 %) and ${\mathrm{NO}}_{\mathrm{3}}^{-}$ (28.2 % ± 2.7 %) inventories were confirmed through a Bayesian isotopic mixing model, coupled with our newly developed computational quantum chemistry module. Despite an overall reduction in total anthropogenic NOx emission due to effective emission control actions and stricter emission standards for vehicles, the observed cloud ${\mathit{\delta }}^{\mathrm{15}}\mathrm{N}\text{-}{\mathrm{NO}}_{\mathrm{3}}^{-}$ values suggest that NOx emissions from transportation may have exceeded emissions from coal combustion. ${\mathit{\delta }}^{\mathrm{18}}\mathrm{O}\text{-}{\mathrm{NO}}_{\mathrm{3}}^{-}$ values imply that the reaction of OH with NO2 is the dominant pathway of ${\mathrm{NO}}_{\mathrm{3}}^{-}$ formation (57 % ± 11 %), yet the contribution of heterogeneous hydrolysis of dinitrogen pentoxide was almost as important (43 % ± 11 %). Although the limited sample set used here results in a relatively large uncertainty with regards to the origin of cloud-associated nitrogen deposition, the high concentrations of inorganic nitrogen imply that clouds represent an important source of nitrogen, especially for nitrogen-limited ecosystems in remote areas. Further simultaneous and long-term sampling of aerosol, rainfall, and cloud water is vital for understanding the anthropogenic influence on nitrogen deposition in the study region.

### Zitieren

Zitierform:

Chang, Yunhua / Zhang, Yan-Lin / Li, Jiarong / et al: Isotopic constraints on the atmospheric sources and formation of nitrogenous species in clouds influenced by biomass burning. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Yunhua Chang et al.

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