Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-516
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-516
07 Mar 2024
 | 07 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Air quality model assessment in city plumes of Europe and East Asia

Adrien Deroubaix, Marco Vountas, Benjamin Gaubert, Maria Dolores Andrés Hernández, Stephan Borrmann, Guy Brasseur, Bruna Holanda, Yugo Kanaya, Katharina Kaiser, Flora Kluge, Ovid Oktavian Krüger, Inga Labuhn, Michael Lichtenstern, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Mira Pöhlker, Hans Schlager, Johannes Schneider, Guillaume Siour, Basudev Swain, Paolo Tuccella, Kameswara S. Vinjamuri, Mihalis Vrekoussis, Benjamin Weyland, and John P. Burrows

Abstract. An air quality model ensemble is used to represent the current state-of-the-art in atmospheric modeling, composed of two global forecasts and two regional simulations. The model ensemble assessment focuses on both carbonaceous aerosols, i.e. black carbon (BC) and organic aerosol (OA), and five trace gases during two aircraft campaigns of the EMeRGe (Effect of Megacities on the Transport and Transformation of Pollutants on the Regional to Global Scales) project. These campaigns, designed with similar flight plans for Europe and Asia, along with identical instrumentation, provide a unique opportunity to evaluate air quality models with a specific focus on city plumes.

The observed concentration ranges for all pollutants are reproduced by the ensemble in the various environments sampled during the EMeRGe campaigns. The evaluation of the air quality model ensemble reveals differences between the two campaigns, with carbon monoxide (CO) better reproduced in East Asia, while other studied pollutants exhibit a better agreement in Europe. These differences may be associated to the modeling of biomass burning pollution during the EMeRGe Asian campaign. However, the modeled CO generally demonstrates good agreement with observations with a correlation coefficient (R) of ≈ 0.8. For formaldehyde (HCHO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3) and BC the agreement is moderate (with R ranging from 0.5 to 0.7), while for OA and SO2 the agreement is weak (with R ranging from 0.2 to 0.3).

The modeled wind speed shows very good agreement (R ≈ 0.9). This supports the use of modeled pollutant transport to identify flight legs associated with pollution originating from major population centers targeted among different flight plans. City plumes are identified using a methodology based on numerical tracer experiments, where tracers are emitted from city centers. This approach robustly localizes the different city plumes in both time and space, even after traveling several hundred kilometers. Focusing on city plumes, the fractions of high concentration are overestimated for BC, OA, HCHO, and SO2, which degrades the performance of the ensemble.

This assessment of air quality models with collocated airborne measurements provides a clear insight into the existing limitations in modeling the composition of carbonaceous aerosols and trace gases, especially in city plumes.

Adrien Deroubaix, Marco Vountas, Benjamin Gaubert, Maria Dolores Andrés Hernández, Stephan Borrmann, Guy Brasseur, Bruna Holanda, Yugo Kanaya, Katharina Kaiser, Flora Kluge, Ovid Oktavian Krüger, Inga Labuhn, Michael Lichtenstern, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Mira Pöhlker, Hans Schlager, Johannes Schneider, Guillaume Siour, Basudev Swain, Paolo Tuccella, Kameswara S. Vinjamuri, Mihalis Vrekoussis, Benjamin Weyland, and John P. Burrows

Status: open (until 04 May 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-516', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Apr 2024 reply
Adrien Deroubaix, Marco Vountas, Benjamin Gaubert, Maria Dolores Andrés Hernández, Stephan Borrmann, Guy Brasseur, Bruna Holanda, Yugo Kanaya, Katharina Kaiser, Flora Kluge, Ovid Oktavian Krüger, Inga Labuhn, Michael Lichtenstern, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Mira Pöhlker, Hans Schlager, Johannes Schneider, Guillaume Siour, Basudev Swain, Paolo Tuccella, Kameswara S. Vinjamuri, Mihalis Vrekoussis, Benjamin Weyland, and John P. Burrows
Adrien Deroubaix, Marco Vountas, Benjamin Gaubert, Maria Dolores Andrés Hernández, Stephan Borrmann, Guy Brasseur, Bruna Holanda, Yugo Kanaya, Katharina Kaiser, Flora Kluge, Ovid Oktavian Krüger, Inga Labuhn, Michael Lichtenstern, Klaus Pfeilsticker, Mira Pöhlker, Hans Schlager, Johannes Schneider, Guillaume Siour, Basudev Swain, Paolo Tuccella, Kameswara S. Vinjamuri, Mihalis Vrekoussis, Benjamin Weyland, and John P. Burrows

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Short summary
This study assesses atmospheric composition using air quality models during aircraft campaigns in Europe and Asia, focusing on carbonaceous aerosols and trace gases. While carbon monoxide is well modeled, other pollutants have moderate to weak agreement with observations. Wind speed modeling is reliable for identifying pollution plumes, where models tend to overestimate concentrations. This highlights challenges in accurately modeling aerosol and trace gas composition, particularly in cities.