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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-324
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-324
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Oct 2018

Research article | 04 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Global NO and HONO emissions of biological soil crusts estimated by a process-based non-vascular vegetation model

Philipp Porada1,2, Alexandra Tamm2, Axel Kleidon3, Ulrich Pöschl2, and Bettina Weber2 Philipp Porada et al.
  • 1University of Potsdam, Vegetation Ecology and Nature Conservation, Am Mühlenberg 3, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Multiphase Chemistry Department, P.O. Box 3060, 55020 Mainz, Germany
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, P.O. Box 10 01 64, 07701 Jena, Germany

Abstract. The reactive trace gases nitric oxide (NO) and nitrous acid (HONO) are crucial for chemical processes in the atmosphere, including the formation of ozone and OH radicals, oxidation of pollutants and atmospheric self-cleaning. Recently, empirical studies showed that biological soil crusts are able to emit large amounts of NO and HONO and they may therefore play an important role in the global budget of these trace gases. However, the upscaling of local estimates to the global scale is subject to large uncertainties, due to unknown spatial distribution of crust types and their dynamic metabolic activity. Here, we perform an alternative estimate of global NO and HONO emissions by biological soil crusts, using a process-based modelling approach to these organisms, combined with global datasets of climate and land cover. We thereby consider that NO and HONO are emitted in strongly different proportions, depending on the type of crust and their dynamic activity, and we provide a first estimate of the global distribution of four different crust types. Based on this, we estimate global total values of 1.04Tgyr−1 NO-N and 0.69Tgyr−1 HONO-N released by biological soil crusts. This is consistent with the amount estimated by the empirical approach and confirms that biological soil crusts are likely to have a strong impact on global atmospheric chemistry via emissions of NO and HONO.

Philipp Porada et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Philipp Porada et al.
Philipp Porada et al.
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Short summary
The trace gases NO and HONO are crucial for atmospheric chemistry. It has been suggested that biological soil crusts in drylands contribute substantially to global NO and HONO emissions, based on empirical up-scaling of laboratory and field observations. Here we apply an alternative, process-based modeling approach to predict these emissions. We find that biological soil crusts emit globally significant amounts of NO and HONO, which also vary depending on the type of biological soil crust.
The trace gases NO and HONO are crucial for atmospheric chemistry. It has been suggested that...
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