24 Aug 2022
24 Aug 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Formaldehyde and hydroperoxide distribution around the Arabian Peninsula – evaluation of EMAC model results with ship-based measurements

Dirk Dienhart1, Bettina Brendel1, John N. Crowley1, Philipp G. Eger1, Hartwig Harder1, Monica Martinez1, Andrea Pozzer1, Roland Rohloff1, Jan Schuladen1, Sebastian Tauer1, Jos Lelieveld1,2, and Horst Fischer1 Dirk Dienhart et al.
  • 1Atmospheric Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus

Abstract. Formaldehyde (HCHO) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) play a key role in atmospheric oxidation processes. They act as sources and sinks for HOx radicals (OH + HO2), with OH as the primary oxidant that governs the atmospheric self-cleaning capacity. Measurements of these species allow evaluation of global chemistry-transport models which need to account for multifarious source distributions, transport and mixing, complex photochemical reaction pathways and deposition processes. HCHO is an intermediate produced during the oxidation of VOCs and is an indicator of photochemical activity and combustion related emissions. Due to its many production pathways and its rather short lifetime of only several hours at noon, accurate modelling of this species is challenging. In this study, we use in situ observations in the marine boundary layer (MBL) to evaluate results of the general circulation model EMAC (ECHAM5/MESSy2 Atmospheric Chemistry). The dataset was obtained during the AQABA ship campaign around the Arabian Peninsula in summer 2017. This region is characterized by high mixing ratios of photochemical air pollution, high humidity and strong solar irradiation, especially in the area around the Suez Canal and the Arabian Gulf. We find that EMAC fails to predict absolute mixing ratios of HCHO, especially during high pollution events, but it reproduces most of the HCHO variability seen in the different regions, while it systematically overestimates H2O2. This is mainly attributed to missing primary VOC emissions and the overestimation of HOx radicals, and also related to the models coarse spatial resolution.

Dirk Dienhart et al.

Status: open (until 12 Oct 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-580', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Sep 2022 reply

Dirk Dienhart et al.

Dirk Dienhart et al.


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Short summary
Formaldehyde and hydroperoxide measurements were performed in the marine boundary layer around the Arabian Peninsula and highlight the Suez Canal and the Arabian (Persian) Gulf as a hotspot of photochemical air pollution. The comparison with the general circulation model EMAC shows rather accurate results of formaldehyde and an overestimation of hydrogen peroxide, which revealed enhanced HOx (=OH+HO2) radicals in the simulation and an underestimation of dry deposition velocites.