13 Oct 2022
 | 13 Oct 2022

The underappreciated impact of emission source profiles on the simulation of PM2.5 components: New evidence from sensitivity analysis

Zhongwei Luo, Yan Han, Kun Hua, Yufen Zhang, Jianhui Wu, Xiaohui Bi, Qili Dai, Baoshuang Liu, Yang Chen, Xin Long, and Yinchang Feng

Abstract. The chemical transport model (CTM) is an essential tool for air quality prediction and management, widely used in air pollution control and health risk assessment. However, the current models do not perform very well in simulating PM2.5 components. Studies suggested that the uncertainties of model chemical mechanism, source emission inventory and meteorological field can cause inaccurate simulation results. Still, the emission source profile of PM2.5 has not been fully taken into account in current numerical simulation. This study aims to answer (1) Whether the variation of source profile adopted in chemical transport models (CTMs) has an impact on the simulation of PM2.5 chemical components? (2) How much does it impact? (3) How does the impact work? Based on the characteristics and variation rules of chemical components in typical PM2.5 sources, different simulation scenarios were designed and the sensitivity of components simulation results to PM2.5 sources profile was explored. Our findings showed that the influence of source profile changes on simulated PM2.5 concentration was insignificant, but its impact on PM2.5 components could not be ignored. The variations of simulated components ranged from 8 % to 167 % under selected different source profiles, and simulation results of some components were sensitive to the adopted PM2.5 source profile in CTMs. These influences are connected to the chemical mechanisms of the model since the variation of species allocations in emission sources directly affected the thermodynamic equilibrium system. We also found that the perturbation of the PM2.5 source profile caused the variation of simulated gaseous pollutants, which indirectly indicated that the perturbation of the source profile affected the simulation of secondary PM2.5 components. Given the vital role of air quality simulation in environment management and health risk assessment, the representativeness and timeliness of source profile should be considered.

Zhongwei Luo et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-895', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 Oct 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Yinchang Feng, 21 Jan 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-895', Anonymous Referee #2, 02 Nov 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Yinchang Feng, 21 Jan 2023
  • CEC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-895', Astrid Kerkweg, 11 Nov 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on CEC1', Yinchang Feng, 21 Jan 2023

Zhongwei Luo et al.


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Short summary
This study explores the variation of source profile adopted in chemical transport models (CTMs) have an impact on the simulated results of chemical components in PM2.5 based on sensitivity analysis. The impact on PM2.5 components could not be ignored and the influence can be transmitted and linked among components. The representativeness and timeliness of the source profile should be paid enough attention in air quality simulation.