Skill and uncertainty of a regional air quality model ensemble

Abstract : Recently several regional air quality projects were carried out to support the negotiation under the Clean Air For Europe (CAFE) programme by predicting the impact of emission control policies with an ensemble of models. Within these projects, CITYDELTA and EURODELTA, the fate of air quality at the scale of European cities or that of the European continent was studied using several models. In this article we focus on the results of EURODELTA. The predictive skill of the ensemble of models is described for ozone, nitrogen dioxide and secondary inorganic compounds, and the uncertainty in air quality modelling is examined through the model ensemble spread of concentrations. For ozone daily maxima the ensemble spread origin differs from one region to another. In the neighbourbood of cities or in mountainous areas the spread of predicted values does not span the range of observed data, due to poorly resolved emissions or complex-terrain meteorology. By contrast in Atlantic and North Sea coastal areas the spread of predicted values is found to be larger than the observations. This is attributed to large differences in the boundary conditions used in the different models. For NO2 daily averages the ensemble spread is generally too small compared with observations. This is because models miss highest values occurring in stagnant meteorology in stable boundary layers near cities. For secondary particulate matter compounds the simulated concentration spread is more balanced, observations falling nearly equiprobably within the ensemble, and the spread originates both from meteorology and aerosol chemistry and thermodynamics.
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Robert Vautard, M. Schaap, R. Bergstrom, Bertrand Bessagnet, J. Brandt, et al.. Skill and uncertainty of a regional air quality model ensemble. Atmospheric environment, Elsevier, 2009, 43 (31), pp.4822-4832. ⟨10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.09.083⟩. ⟨ineris-00963160⟩

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