Oxidative capacity of the Mexico City atmosphere – Part 2: A ROx radical cycling perspective
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
2Molina Center for Energy and the Environment, La Jolla, CA, USA
3University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
4University of Colorado at Boulder and CIRES, Boulder, CO, USA
Abstract. A box model using measurements from the Mexico City Metropolitan Area study in the spring of 2003 (MCMA-2003) is presented to study ROx (ROx=OH+HO2+RO2+RO) radical cycling in the troposphere. Model simulations were performed with the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCMv3.1) constrained with 10 min averaged measurements of major radical sources (i.e., HCHO, HONO, O3, CHOCHO, etc.), radical sink precursors (i.e., NO, NO2, SO2, CO, and 102 volatile organic compounds VOC), meteorological parameters (temperature, pressure, water vapor concentration, dilution), and photolysis frequencies.
Modeled HOx concentrations compare favorably with measured concentrations for most of the day; however, the model under-predicts the concentrations of radicals in the early morning. This "missing reactivity" is highest during peak photochemical activity, and is least visible in a direct comparison of HOx radical concentrations. The true uncertainty due to "missing reactivity" is apparent in parameters like chain length, and ozone production (P(O3)). For example, the integral amount of ozone produced could be under-predicted by a factor of two. Our analysis highlights that apart from uncertainties in emissions, and meteorology, there is an additional major chemical uncertainty in current models.