Articles | Volume 17, issue 17
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 10315–10332, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-10315-2017
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 10315–10332, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-10315-2017

Research article 04 Sep 2017

Research article | 04 Sep 2017

Regional contributions to particulate matter concentration in the Seoul metropolitan area, South Korea: seasonal variation and sensitivity to meteorology and emissions inventory

Hyun Cheol Kim1,2, Eunhye Kim3, Changhan Bae3, Jeong Hoon Cho4, Byeong-Uk Kim5, and Soontae Kim3 Hyun Cheol Kim et al.
  • 1Air Resources Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, MD, 20740, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 20740, USA
  • 3Department of Environmental and Safety Engineering, Ajou University, Suwon, 16499, South Korea
  • 4Environmental Meteorology Research Division, National Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Jeju, 63568, South Korea
  • 5Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Atlanta, GA, 30354, USA

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.

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Short summary
This study is intended to provide reference information regarding quantitative estimation of regional contributions and model uncertainty in meteorology simulations and emissions inventories. Simulated PM concentration is sensitive to meteorology, but estimated contributions are mostly robust. Regional contributions are also found to be sensitive to the choice of emissions inventories. The modeled results should be considered with caution when interpreted for emission regulation policy making.
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