Articles | Volume 14, issue 23
Research article
02 Dec 2014
Research article |  | 02 Dec 2014

Tropospheric carbon monoxide over the Pacific during HIPPO: two-way coupled simulation of GEOS-Chem and its multiple nested models

Y.-Y. Yan, J.-T. Lin, Y. Kuang, D. Yang, and L. Zhang

Abstract. Global chemical transport models (CTMs) are used extensively to study air pollution and transport at a global scale. These models are limited by coarse horizontal resolutions that do not allow for a detailed representation of small-scale nonlinear processes over the pollutant source regions. Here we couple the global GEOS-Chem CTM and its three high-resolution nested models to simulate the tropospheric carbon monoxide (CO) over the Pacific Ocean during five High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER) Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) campaigns between 2009 and 2011. We develop a two-way coupler, the PeKing University CouPLer (PKUCPL), allowing for the exchange and interaction of chemical constituents between the global model (at 2.5° long. × 2° lat.) and the three nested models (at 0.667° long. × 0.5° lat.) covering Asia, North America, and Europe. The coupler obtains nested model results to modify the global model simulation within the respective nested domains, and simultaneously acquires global model results to provide lateral boundary conditions (LBCs) for the nested models.

Compared to the global model alone, the two-way coupled simulation results in enhanced CO concentrations in the nested domains. Sensitivity tests suggest the enhancement to be a result of improved representation of the spatial distributions of CO, nitrogen oxides, and non-methane volatile organic compounds, the meteorological dependence of natural emissions, and other resolution-dependent processes. The relatively long lifetime of CO allows for the enhancement to be accumulated and carried across the globe. We found that the two-way coupled simulation increased the global tropospheric mean CO concentrations in 2009 by 10.4%, with a greater enhancement at 13.3% in the Northern Hemisphere. Coincidently, the global tropospheric mean hydroxyl radical (OH) was reduced by 4.2%, resulting in a 4.2% enhancement in the methyl chloroform lifetime (MCF; via reaction with tropospheric OH). The resulting CO and OH contents and MCF lifetime are closer to observation-based estimates.

Both the global and the two-way coupled models capture the general spatiotemporal patterns of HIPPO CO over the Pacific. The two-way coupled simulation is much closer to HIPPO CO, with a mean bias of 1.1 ppb (1.4%) below 9 km compared to the bias at −7.2 ppb (−9.2%) for the global model alone. The improvement is most apparent over the North Pacific. Our test simulations show that the global model alone could resemble the two-way coupled simulation (especially below 4 km) by increasing its global CO emissions by 15% for HIPPO-1 and HIPPO-3, by 25% for HIPPO-2 and HIPPO-4, and by 35% for HIPPO-5. This has important implications for using the global model alone to constrain CO emissions. Thus, the two-way coupled simulation is a significantly improved model tool for studying the global impacts of air pollutants from major anthropogenic source regions.

Short summary
Limited by coarse resolutions, global chemical transport models cannot well capture small-scale nonlinear processes. To alleviate the problem, we develop a two-way coupled system to integrate the global GEOS-Chem model and its three high-resolution nested models covering Asia, Europe and North America. Confirmed by comparisons with observations, the coupled system improves upon the global model with a 10% increase in global tropospheric CO, a 4% decrease in OH and a 4% increase in MCF lifetime.
Final-revised paper