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Volume 9, issue 5 | Copyright

Special issue: The community version of the Weather Research and Forecasting...

Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 1725-1746, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-9-1725-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Development and technical paper 10 May 2016

Development and technical paper | 10 May 2016

Trans-Pacific transport and evolution of aerosols: evaluation of quasi-global WRF-Chem simulation with multiple observations

Zhiyuan Hu1,2, Chun Zhao2, Jianping Huang1, L. Ruby Leung2, Yun Qian2, Hongbin Yu3,4, Lei Huang5, and Olga V. Kalashnikova5 Zhiyuan Hu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, Lanzhou University, Gansu, China
  • 2Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA
  • 3Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • 4Earth Science Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 5Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and NASA, Pasadena, CA, USA

Abstract. A fully coupled meteorology-chemistry model (WRF-Chem, the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with chemistry) has been configured to conduct quasi-global simulation for 5 years (2010–2014) and evaluated with multiple observation data sets for the first time. The evaluation focuses on the simulation over the trans-Pacific transport region using various reanalysis and observational data sets for meteorological fields and aerosol properties. The simulation generally captures the overall spatial and seasonal variability of satellite retrieved aerosol optical depth (AOD) and absorbing AOD (AAOD) over the Pacific that is determined by the outflow of pollutants and dust and the emissions of marine aerosols. The assessment of simulated extinction Ångström exponent (EAE) indicates that the model generally reproduces the variability of aerosol size distributions as seen by satellites. In addition, the vertical profile of aerosol extinction and its seasonality over the Pacific are also well simulated. The difference between the simulation and satellite retrievals can be mainly attributed to model biases in estimating marine aerosol emissions as well as the satellite sampling and retrieval uncertainties. Compared with the surface measurements over the western USA, the model reasonably simulates the observed magnitude and seasonality of dust, sulfate, and nitrate surface concentrations, but significantly underestimates the peak surface concentrations of carbonaceous aerosol likely due to model biases in the spatial and temporal variability of biomass burning emissions and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) production. A sensitivity simulation shows that the trans-Pacific transported dust, sulfate, and nitrate can make significant contribution to surface concentrations over the rural areas of the western USA, while the peaks of carbonaceous aerosol surface concentrations are dominated by the North American emissions. Both the retrievals and simulation show small interannual variability of aerosol characteristics for 2010–2014 averaged over three Pacific sub-regions. The evaluation in this study demonstrates that the WRF-Chem quasi-global simulation can be used for investigating trans-Pacific transport of aerosols and providing reasonable inflow chemical boundaries for the western USA, allowing one to further understand the impact of transported pollutants on the regional air quality and climate with high-resolution nested regional modeling.

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This study conducts the simulation of WRF-Chem with the quasi-global configuration for 2010–2014, and evaluates the simulation with multiple observation datasets for the first time. This study demonstrates that the WRF-Chem quasi-global simulation can be used for investigating trans-Pacific transport of aerosols and providing reasonable inflow chemical boundaries for the western USA to further understand the impact of transported pollutants on the regional air quality and climate.
This study conducts the simulation of WRF-Chem with the quasi-global configuration for...
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