Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
30 Mar 2010
 | 30 Mar 2010

Eta-CMAQ air quality forecasts for O3 and related species using three different photochemical mechanisms (CB4, CB05, SAPRC-99): comparisons with measurements during the 2004 ICARTT study

S. Yu, R. Mathur, G. Sarwar, D. Kang, D. Tong, G. Pouliot, and J. Pleim

Abstract. A critical module of air quality models is the photochemical mechanism. In this study, the impact of the three photochemical mechanisms (CB4, CB05, SAPRC-99) on the Eta-Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model's forecast performance for O3, and its related precursors has been assessed over the eastern United States with observations obtained by aircraft (NOAA P-3 and NASA DC-8) flights, ship and two surface networks (AIRNow and AIRMAP) during the 2004 International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation (ICARTT) study. The results show that overall none of the mechanisms performs systematically better than the others. On the other hand, at the AIRNow surface sites, CB05 has the best performance with the normalized mean bias (NMB) of 3.9%, followed by CB4 (NMB=−5.7%) and SAPRC-99 (NMB=10.6%) for observed O3≥75 ppb, whereas CB4 has the best performance with the least overestimation for observed O3<75 ppb. On the basis of comparisons with aircraft P-3 measurements, there were consistent overestimations of O3, NOz, PAN and NOy and consistent underestimations of CO, HNO3, NO2, NO, SO2 and terpenes for all three mechanisms although the NMB values for each species and mechanisms were different. The results of aircraft DC-8 show that CB05 predicts the H2O2 mixing ratios most closely to the observations (NMB=10.8%), whereas CB4 and SAPRC-99 overestimated (NMB=74.7%) and underestimated (NMB=−25.5%) H2O2 mixing ratios significantly, respectively. For different air mass flows over the Gulf of Maine on the basis of the ship data, the three mechanisms have relatively better performance for O3, isoprene and SO2 for the clean marine or continental flows but relatively better performance for CO, NO2 and NO for southwesterly/westerly offshore flows. The results of the O3-NOz slopes over the ocean indicate that SAPRC-99 has the highest upper limits of the ozone production efficiency (εN) (5.8), followed by CB05 (4.5) and CB4 (4.0) although they are much lower than that inferred from the observation (11.8), being consistent with the fact that on average, SAPRC-99 produces the highest O3, followed by CB05 and CB4, across all O3 mixing ratio ranges

Final-revised paper