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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-744
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-744
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  18 Aug 2020

18 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Improving regional air quality predictions in the Indo-Gangetic Plain-Case study of an intensive pollution episode in November 2017

Behrooz Roozitalab1,2, Gregory R. Carmichael1,2, and Sarath K. Guttikunda3 Behrooz Roozitalab et al.
  • 1Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  • 2Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  • 3Urban Emissions, New Delhi, India

Abstract. Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) experienced an intensive air pollution episode during November 2017. Weather Research and Forecasting model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem), a coupled meteorology–chemistry model, was used to simulate this episode. In order to capture PM2.5 peaks, we modified input chemical boundary conditions and biomass burning emissions. CAM-Chem and MERRA-2 global models provided gaseous and aerosol chemical boundary conditions, respectively. We also incorporated VIIRS active fire points to fill missing fire emissions in FINN and scaled by a factor of seven for an 8-days period. Evaluations against various observations indicated the model captured the temporal trend very well although missed the peaks on Nov. 7th, 8th, and 10th. Modeled aerosol composition in Delhi showed Secondary Inorganic Aerosols (SIA) and Secondary Organic Aerosols (SOA) comprised 30 % and 27 % of total PM2.5 concentration, respectively, during November, with a modeled OC / BC ratio of 2.72. Back trajectories showed agricultural fires in Punjab were the major source for extremely polluted days in Delhi. Furthermore, high concentrations above the boundary layers in vertical profiles suggested either the plume rise in the model released the emissions too high, or the model did not mix the smoke down fast enough. Results also showed long-range transported dusts did not affect Delhi's air quality during the episode. Spatial plots showed averaged Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) of 0.58 (± 0.4) over November. The model AODs were biased high over central India and low over eastern IGP, indicating improving emissions in eastern IGP can significantly improve the air quality predictions. We also found high ozone concentrations over the domain, which indicates ozone should be considered in future air quality management strategies alongside particulate matters.

Behrooz Roozitalab et al.

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WRF-Chem model outputs of surface PM2.5 concentrations in India during November 2017 Behrooz Roozitalab, Gregory R. Carmichael, and Sarath K. Guttikunda https://doi.org/10.25820/data.006126

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Short summary
We used air quality modeling to study an extreme pollution episode in November 2017 in India. We found both local and regional emissions contribute to high pollution levels. The extreme pollution values were the result of agricultural fires in the north west of India. Ozone concentrations were also high during this period. Ozone should be considered in future air quality management strategies.
We used air quality modeling to study an extreme pollution episode in November 2017 in India. We...
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