Articles | Volume 13, issue 14
Research article
29 Jul 2013
Research article |  | 29 Jul 2013

E pluribus unum*: ensemble air quality predictions

S. Galmarini, I. Kioutsioukis, and E. Solazzo

Abstract. In this study we present a novel approach for improving the air quality predictions using an ensemble of air quality models generated in the context of AQMEII (Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative). The development of the forecasting method makes use of modelled and observed time series (either spatially aggregated or relative to single monitoring stations) of ozone concentrations over different areas of Europe and North America. The technique considers the underlying forcing mechanisms on ozone by means of spectrally decomposed previsions. With the use of diverse applications, we demonstrate how the approach screens the ensemble members, extracts the best components and generates bias-free forecasts with improved accuracy over the candidate models. Compared to more traditional forecasting methods such as the ensemble median, the approach reduces the forecast error and at the same time it clearly improves the modelled variance. Furthermore, the result is not a mere statistical outcome depended on the quality of the selected members. The few individual cases with degraded performance are also identified and analysed. Finally, we show the extensions of the approach to other pollutants, specifically particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, and provide a framework for its operational implementation.

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Final-revised paper