Articles | Volume 10, issue 13
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 6295–6309, 2010

Special issue: MILAGRO/INTEX-B 2006

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 6295–6309, 2010

  13 Jul 2010

13 Jul 2010

Ozone predictabilities due to meteorological uncertainties in the Mexico City basin using ensemble forecasts

N. Bei1, W. Lei1, M. Zavala1, and L. T. Molina1,2 N. Bei et al.
  • 1Molina Center for Energy and the Environment, La Jolla, California, USA
  • 2Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Abstract. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the sensitivity of ozone (O3) predictions in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) to meteorological initial uncertainties and planetary boundary layer (PBL) parameterization schemes using state-of-the-art meteorological and photochemical prediction models through ensemble forecasts. The simulated periods (3, 9, 15 and 29 March 2006) represent four typical meteorological episodes ("South-Venting", "O3-North", "O3-South" and "Convection-North", respectively) in the Mexico City basin during the MCMA-2006/MILAGRO campaign. Our results demonstrate that the uncertainties in meteorological initial conditions have significant impacts on O3 predictions, including peak time O3 concentrations ([O3]), horizontal and vertical O3 distributions, and temporal variations. The ensemble spread of the simulated peak [O3] averaged over the city's ambient monitoring sites can reach up to 10 ppb. The increasing uncertainties in meteorological fields during peak O3 period contribute to the largest unpredictability in O3 simulations, while the impacts of wind speeds and PBL height on [O3] are more straightforward and important. The magnitude of the ensemble spreads varies with different PBL schemes and meteorological episodes. The uncertainties in O3 predictions caused by PBL schemes mainly come from their ability to represent the mixing layer height; but overall, these uncertainties are smaller than those from the uncertainties in meteorological initial conditions.

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