Journal cover Journal topic
Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 4257-4272, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-9-4257-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Model evaluation paper
25 Nov 2016
Comparison of PMCAMx aerosol optical depth predictions over Europe with AERONET and MODIS measurements
Antigoni Panagiotopoulou1,2, Panagiotis Charalampidis1,3, Christos Fountoukis1, Christodoulos Pilinis3, and Spyros N. Pandis1,2,4 1Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (ICE-HT/FORTH), Platani, P.O. Box 1414, Patras, 26504, Greece
2Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, Patras, 26504, Greece
3Department of Environment, University of the Aegean, University Hill, Mytilene, 81100, Greece
4Department of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
Abstract. The ability of chemical transport model (CTM) PMCAMx to reproduce aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements by the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) over Europe during the photochemically active period of May 2008 (EUCAARI campaign) is evaluated. Periods with high dust or sea-salt levels are excluded, so the analysis focuses on the ability of the model to simulate the mostly secondary aerosol and its interactions with water. PMCAMx reproduces the monthly mean MODIS and AERONET AOD values over the Iberian Peninsula, the British Isles, central Europe, and Russia with a fractional bias of less than 15 % and a fractional error of less than 30 %. However, the model overestimates the AOD over northern Europe, most probably due to an overestimation of organic aerosol and sulfates. At the other end, PMCAMx underestimates the monthly mean MODIS AOD over the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the South Atlantic. These errors appear to be related to an underestimation of sulfates. Sensitivity tests indicate that the evaluation results of the monthly mean AODs are quite sensitive to the relative humidity (RH) fields used by PMCAMx, but are not sensitive to the simulated size distribution and the black carbon mixing state. The screening of the satellite retrievals for periods with high dust (or coarse particles in general) concentrations as well as the combination of the MODIS and AERONET datasets lead to more robust conclusions about the ability of the model to simulate the secondary aerosol components that dominate the AOD during this period.

Citation: Panagiotopoulou, A., Charalampidis, P., Fountoukis, C., Pilinis, C., and Pandis, S. N.: Comparison of PMCAMx aerosol optical depth predictions over Europe with AERONET and MODIS measurements, Geosci. Model Dev., 9, 4257-4272, https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-9-4257-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
The ability of chemical transport model PMCAMx to reproduce ground and satellite aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements over Europe is evaluated. PMCAMx reproduces AOD values over Spain, the UK, central Europe, and Russia with a fractional bias of less than 15 % and a fractional error of less than 30 %. The model overestimates the AOD over northern Europe probably due to an overestimation of organic aerosol and sulfates, and underestimates over the Balkans due to an underestimation of sulfates.
The ability of chemical transport model PMCAMx to reproduce ground and satellite aerosol...
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