The impact of differences in large-scale circulation output from climate models on the regional modeling of ozone and PM
1TNO, P.O. Box 80015, 3584 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
2KNMI, De Bilt, The Netherlands
3FUB, Berlin, Germany
Abstract. Climate change may have an impact on air quality (ozone, particulate matter) due to the strong dependency of air quality on meteorology. The effect is often studied using a global climate model (GCM) to produce meteorological fields that are subsequently used by chemical transport models. However, climate models themselves are subject to large uncertainties and fail to adequately reproduce the present-day climate. The present study illustrates the impact of this uncertainty on air quality. To this end, output from the SRES-A1B constraint transient runs with two GCMs, i.e. ECHAM5 and MIROC-hires, has been dynamically downscaled with the regional climate model RACMO2 and used to force a constant emission run with the chemistry transport model LOTOS-EUROS in a one-way coupled run covering the period 1970–2060.
Results from the two climate simulations have been compared with a RACMO2-LOTOS-EUROS (RLE) simulation forced by the ERA-Interim reanalysis for the period 1989–2009. Both RLE_ECHAM and RLE_MIROC showed considerable deviations from RLE_ERA in daily maximum temperature, precipitation and wind speed. Moreover, sign and magnitude of these deviations depended on the region. Differences in average concentrations for the present-day simulations were found of equal to (RLE_MIROC) or even larger than (RLE_ECHAM) the differences in concentration between present-day and future climate (2041–2060). The climate simulations agreed on a future increase in average summer ozone daily maximum concentrations (5–10 μg m−3) in parts of Southern Europe and a smaller increase in Western and Central Europe. Annual average PM10 concentrations increased (0.5–1.0 μg m−3) in North-West Europe and the Po Valley, but these numbers are rather uncertain. Overall, changes for PM10 were small, both positive and negative changes were found, and for many locations the two runs did not agree on the sign of the change. The approach taken here illustrates that results from individual climate runs can at best indicate tendencies and should therefore be interpreted with great care.