1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
2Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
3Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
4Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, USA
5Remote Sensing Solutions, Inc., Pasadena, California, USA
Abstract. A three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3-DVAR) algorithm for aerosols in a WRF/Chem model is presented. The WRF/Chem model uses the MOSAIC (Model for Simulating Aerosol Interactions and Chemistry) scheme, which explicitly treats eight major species (elemental/black carbon, organic carbon, nitrate, sulfate, chloride, ammonium, sodium, and the sum of other inorganic, inert mineral and metal species) and represents size distributions using a sectional method with four size bins. The 3-DVAR scheme is formulated to take advantage of the MOSAIC scheme in providing comprehensive analyses of specie concentrations and size distributions. To treat the large number of state variables associated with the MOSAIC scheme, this 3-DVAR algorithm first determines the analysis increments of the total mass concentrations of the eight species, defined as the sum of the mass concentrations across all size bins, and then distributes the analysis increments over four size bins according to the background error variances. The number concentrations for each size bin are adjusted based on the ratios between the mass and number concentrations of the background state. This system has been applied to the analysis and prediction of PM2.5 in the Los Angeles basin during the CalNex 2010 field experiment, with assimilation of surface PM2.5 and speciated concentration observations. The results demonstrate that the data assimilation significantly reduces the errors in comparison with a down scaling simulation and improved forecasts of the concentrations of PM2.5 as well as individual species for up to 24 h. Some implementation difficulties and limitations of the system are also discussed.