Regional contributions to particulate matter concentration in the Seoul metropolitan area, South Korea: seasonal variation and sensitivity to meteorology and emissions inventory
Abstract. The impact of regional emissions (e.g., domestic and international) on surface particulate matter (PM) concentrations in the Seoul metropolitan area (SMA), South Korea, and its sensitivities to meteorology and emissions inventories are quantitatively estimated for 2014 using regional air quality modeling systems. Located on the downwind side of strong sources of anthropogenic emissions, South Korea bears the full impact of the regional transport of pollutants and their precursors. However, the impact of foreign emissions sources has not yet been fully documented. We utilized two regional air quality simulation systems: (1) a Weather Research and Forecasting and Community Multi-Scale Air Quality (CMAQ) system and (2) a United Kingdom Met Office Unified Model and CMAQ system. The following combinations of emissions inventories are used: the Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment-Phase B, the Inter-comparison Study for Asia 2010, and the National Institute of Environment Research Clean Air Policy Support System. Partial contributions of domestic and foreign emissions are estimated using a brute force approach, adjusting South Korean emissions to 50 %. Results show that foreign emissions contributed ∼ 60 % of SMA surface PM concentration in 2014. Estimated contributions display clear seasonal variation, with foreign emissions having a higher impact during the cold season (fall to spring), reaching ∼ 70 % in March, and making lower contributions in the summer, ∼ 45 % in September. We also found that simulated surface PM concentration is sensitive to meteorology, but estimated contributions are mostly consistent. Regional contributions are also found to be sensitive to the choice of emissions inventories.