Investigation of effects of varying model inputs on mercury deposition estimates in the Southwest US
Abstract. The Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model version 4.7.1 was used to simulate mercury wet and dry deposition for a domain covering the continental United States (US). The simulations used MM5-derived meteorological input fields and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clear Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) emissions inventory. Using sensitivity simulations with different boundary conditions and tracer simulations, this investigation focuses on the contributions of boundary concentrations to deposited mercury in the Southwest (SW) US. Concentrations of oxidized mercury species along the boundaries of the domain, in particular the upper layers of the domain, can make significant contributions to the simulated wet and dry deposition of mercury in the SW US. In order to better understand the contributions of boundary conditions to deposition, inert tracer simulations were conducted to quantify the relative amount of an atmospheric constituent transported across the boundaries of the domain at various altitudes and to quantify the amount that reaches and potentially deposits to the land surface in the SW US. Simulations using alternate sets of boundary concentrations, including estimates from global models (Goddard Earth Observing System-Chem (GEOS-Chem) and the Global/Regional Atmospheric Heavy Metals (GRAHM) model), and alternate meteorological input fields (for different years) are analyzed in this paper. CMAQ dry deposition in the SW US is sensitive to differences in the atmospheric dynamics and atmospheric mercury chemistry parameterizations between the global models used for boundary conditions.