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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  30 Oct 2020

30 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Turbulence-permitting air pollution simulation for the Stuttgart metropolitan area

Thomas Schwitalla1, Hans-Stefan Bauer1, Kirsten Warrach-Sagi1, Thomas Bönisch2, and Volker Wulfmeyer1 Thomas Schwitalla et al.
  • 1Institute of Physics and Meteorology, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstrasse 30, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
  • 2High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS), Nobelstrasse 19, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany

Abstract. Air pollution is one of the major challenges in urban areas. It can have a major impact on human health and society and is currently a subject of several litigations at European courts. Information on the level of air pollution is based on near surface measurements, which are often irregularly distributed along the main traffic roads and provide almost no information about the residential areas and office districts in the cities. To further enhance the process understanding and give scientific support to decision makers, we developed a prototype for an air quality forecasting system (AQFS) within the EU demonstration project Open Forecast.

For AQFS, the Weather Research and Forecasting model together with its coupled chemistry component (WRF-Chem) is applied for the Stuttgart metropolitan area in Germany. Three model domains from 1.25 km down to a turbulence permitting resolution of 50 m were used and a single layer urban canopy model was active in all domains. As demonstration case study the 21 January 2019 was selected which was a heavy polluted day with observed PM10 concentrations exceeding 50 µg m−3.

Our results show that the model is capable to reasonably simulate the diurnal cycle of surface fluxes and 2-m temperatures as well as evolution of the stable and shallow boundary layer typically occurring in wintertime in Stuttgart. The simulated fields of particulates with a diameter of less than 10 µm (PM10) and Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) allow a clear statement about the most heavily polluted areas apart from the irregularly distributed measurement sites. Together with information about the vertical distribution of PM10 and NO2 from the model, AQFS will serve as a valuable tool for air quality forecast and has the potential of being applied to other cities around the world.

Thomas Schwitalla et al.

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Thomas Schwitalla et al.

Thomas Schwitalla et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
A prototype of an air quality forecasting system (AQFS) on the turbulence permitting (TP) resolution is developed. AQFS is based on the WRF-Chem model and uses high-resolution emission data from different pollution sources. A simulation case study of a typical winter day in south Germany serves as a test bed. Results indicate that the complex topography plays an important role for the horizontal and vertical pollution distribution over the Stuttgart metropolitan area.
A prototype of an air quality forecasting system (AQFS) on the turbulence permitting (TP)...