Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1243
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1243

  05 Jan 2021

05 Jan 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP and is expected to appear here in due course.

Vehicle induced turbulence and atmospheric pollution

Paul A. Makar, Craig Stroud, Ayodeji Akingunola, Junhua Zhang, Shuzhan Ren, Philip Cheung, and Qiong Zheng Paul A. Makar et al.
  • Air Quality Modelling and Integration Section, Air Quality Research Division, Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3H 5T4, Canada

Abstract. Theoretical models of the Earth's atmosphere adhere to an underlying concept of flow driven by radiative transfer and the nature of the surface over which the flow is taking place: heat from the sun and/or anthropogenic sources are the sole sources of energy driving atmospheric constituent transport. However, another source of energy is prevalent in the human environment at the very local scale – the transfer of kinetic energy from moving vehicles to the atmosphere. We show that this source of energy, due to being co-located with combustion emissions, can influence their vertical distribution to the extent of having a significant influence on lower troposphere pollutant concentrations throughout North America. The effect of vehicle-induced turbulence on freshly emitted chemicals remains notable even when taking into account more complex urban radiative transfer-driven turbulence theories at high resolution. We have designed a parameterization to account for the at-source vertical transport of freshly emitted pollutants from mobile emissions resulting from vehicle-induced turbulence, in analogy to sub-grid-scale parameterizations for plume rise emissions from large stacks. This parameterization allows vehicle-induced turbulence to be represented at the scales inherent 3D chemical transport models, allowing its impact over large regions to be represented, without the need for the computational resources and much higher resolution of large eddy simulation models. Including this sub-grid-scale parameterization for the vertical transport of emitted pollutants due to vehicle-induced turbulence into a 3D chemical transport model of the atmosphere reduces pre-existing North American nitrogen dioxide biases by a factor of eight, and improves most model performance scores for nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and ozone (for example, reductions in root mean square errors of 20, 9 and 0.5 percent, respectively).

Paul A. Makar et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2020-1243', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 Jan 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2020-1243', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Feb 2021
  • AC1: 'Comment on acp-2020-1243', Paul A. Makar, 07 May 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2020-1243', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 Jan 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2020-1243', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Feb 2021
  • AC1: 'Comment on acp-2020-1243', Paul A. Makar, 07 May 2021

Paul A. Makar et al.

Paul A. Makar et al.

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Latest update: 25 Jul 2021
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Short summary
Vehicle pollutant emissions occur in an environment where upward transport can be enhanced due to the turbulence created by the vehicles as they move through the atmosphere. An approach for including these effects into regional air pollution forecast models has been derived from theoretical, observation, and higher resolution modelling. The enhanced mixing, which occurs in the immediate vicinity of roadways, changes pollutant concentrations on the regional to continental scale.
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