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On the impact of the vertical resolution on chemistry-transport modelling

Abstract : This paper presents a sensitivity analysis of the modelling of air pollutant concentrations in the surface layer with the WRF/CHIMERE models. The influence of the vertical resolution near the surface is studied. The simulations are carried out over two periods (winter and summer 2009) over the Paris area. Three model configurations are used: (i) the CHIMERE mesh used for the PREVAIR forecast (8 levels from 995 to 500 hPa), (ii) a mesh refined along the whole vertical axis (20 levels from 995 to 500 hPa) and (iii) a mesh with a refinement near the surface (9 levels from 999 to 500 hPa). The results are discussed in terms of differences on surface concentrations between the reference case and an improved resolution. Adding a point close to the surface appears to be important mainly for high nocturnal concentrations in very stable boundary layers. Refining the vertical mesh, with 20 levels instead of 8, enables to model new structures in the well mixed boundary layer, but with a moderate impact at the surface. It is shown that the different model configurations lead to changes of a few mu g m(-3) at most, showing that the vertical mesh is not the most sensitive factor in chemistry-transport modelling when results are compared to surface measurements. This finding validates the fact that a simplified vertical mesh is suitable for air quality forecasting even if an improved vertical resolution close to the ground is important to take into account the urban increment.
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Laurent Menut, Bertrand Bessagnet, Augustin Colette, Dmitry Khvorostiyanov. On the impact of the vertical resolution on chemistry-transport modelling. Atmospheric environment, Elsevier, 2013, 67, pp.370-384. ⟨10.1016/j.atmosenv.2012.11.026⟩. ⟨ineris-00961802⟩

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