Articles | Volume 13, issue 19
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 9695–9712, 2013
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 9695–9712, 2013

Research article 02 Oct 2013

Research article | 02 Oct 2013

A comparison of atmospheric composition using the Carbon Bond and Regional Atmospheric Chemistry Mechanisms

G. Sarwar1, J. Godowitch1, B. H. Henderson2, K. Fahey1, G. Pouliot1, W. T. Hutzell1, R. Mathur1, D. Kang3, W. S. Goliff4, and W. R. Stockwell5 G. Sarwar et al.
  • 1Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Division, National Exposure Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, RTP, NC 27711, USA
  • 2Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
  • 3Computer Sciences Corporation, RTP, NC 27709, USA
  • 4College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology, University of California at Riverside, Riverside, CA 92507, USA
  • 5Department of Chemistry, Howard University, Washington, DC 20059, USA

Abstract. We incorporate the recently developed Regional Atmospheric Chemistry Mechanism (version 2, RACM2) into the Community Multiscale Air Quality modeling system for comparison with the existing 2005 Carbon Bond mechanism with updated toluene chemistry (CB05TU). Compared to CB05TU, RACM2 enhances the domain-wide monthly mean hydroxyl radical concentrations by 46% and nitric acid by 26%. However, it reduces hydrogen peroxide by 2%, peroxyacetic acid by 94%, methyl hydrogen peroxide by 19%, peroxyacetyl nitrate by 40%, and organic nitrate by 41%. RACM2 enhances ozone compared to CB05TU at all ambient levels. Although it exhibited greater overestimates at lower observed concentrations, it displayed an improved performance at higher observed concentrations. The RACM2 ozone predictions are also supported by increased ozone production efficiency that agrees better with observations. Compared to CB05TU, RACM2 enhances the domain-wide monthly mean sulfate by 10%, nitrate by 6%, ammonium by 10%, anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols by 42%, biogenic secondary organic aerosols by 5%, and in-cloud secondary organic aerosols by 7%. Increased inorganic and organic aerosols with RACM2 agree better with observed data. Any air pollution control strategies developed using the two mechanisms do not differ appreciably.

Final-revised paper