Articles | Volume 18, issue 4
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 2615–2651, 2018
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 2615–2651, 2018

Review article 22 Feb 2018

Review article | 22 Feb 2018

Southeast Atmosphere Studies: learning from model-observation syntheses

Jingqiu Mao1, Annmarie Carlton2,a, Ronald C. Cohen3, William H. Brune4, Steven S. Brown5,6, Glenn M. Wolfe7,8, Jose L. Jimenez5, Havala O. T. Pye9, Nga Lee Ng10, Lu Xu10,b, V. Faye McNeill11, Kostas Tsigaridis12,13, Brian C. McDonald6,7, Carsten Warneke6,7, Alex Guenther14, Matthew J. Alvarado15, Joost de Gouw5, Loretta J. Mickley16, Eric M. Leibensperger17, Rohit Mathur9, Christopher G. Nolte9, Robert W. Portmann6, Nadine Unger18, Mika Tosca19, and Larry W. Horowitz20 Jingqiu Mao et al.
  • 1Geophysical Institute and Department of Chemistry, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA
  • 2Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
  • 3Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
  • 4Department of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
  • 5Department of Chemistry and CIRES, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 6Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 7Chemical Sciences Division, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 8Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 9National Exposure Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
  • 10School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • 11Department of Chemical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY USA
  • 12Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  • 13NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA
  • 14Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
  • 15Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Lexington, MA, USA
  • 16John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 17Center for Earth and Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY, USA
  • 18College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  • 19School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Chicago, IL 60603, USA
  • 20Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory–National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, NJ, USA
  • anow at: Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
  • bnow at: Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA

Abstract. Concentrations of atmospheric trace species in the United States have changed dramatically over the past several decades in response to pollution control strategies, shifts in domestic energy policy and economics, and economic development (and resulting emission changes) elsewhere in the world. Reliable projections of the future atmosphere require models to not only accurately describe current atmospheric concentrations, but to do so by representing chemical, physical and biological processes with conceptual and quantitative fidelity. Only through incorporation of the processes controlling emissions and chemical mechanisms that represent the key transformations among reactive molecules can models reliably project the impacts of future policy, energy and climate scenarios. Efforts to properly identify and implement the fundamental and controlling mechanisms in atmospheric models benefit from intensive observation periods, during which collocated measurements of diverse, speciated chemicals in both the gas and condensed phases are obtained. The Southeast Atmosphere Studies (SAS, including SENEX, SOAS, NOMADSS and SEAC4RS) conducted during the summer of 2013 provided an unprecedented opportunity for the atmospheric modeling community to come together to evaluate, diagnose and improve the representation of fundamental climate and air quality processes in models of varying temporal and spatial scales.

This paper is aimed at discussing progress in evaluating, diagnosing and improving air quality and climate modeling using comparisons to SAS observations as a guide to thinking about improvements to mechanisms and parameterizations in models. The effort focused primarily on model representation of fundamental atmospheric processes that are essential to the formation of ozone, secondary organic aerosol (SOA) and other trace species in the troposphere, with the ultimate goal of understanding the radiative impacts of these species in the southeast and elsewhere. Here we address questions surrounding four key themes: gas-phase chemistry, aerosol chemistry, regional climate and chemistry interactions, and natural and anthropogenic emissions. We expect this review to serve as a guidance for future modeling efforts.

Short summary
This paper is aimed at discussing progress in evaluating, diagnosing, and improving air quality and climate modeling using comparisons to SAS observations as a guide to thinking about improvements to mechanisms and parameterizations in models.
Final-revised paper