Modelling surface ozone during the 2003 heat wave in the UK
1School of GeoSciences, The University of Edinburgh, UK
2Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Penicuik, UK
3School of Chemistry, The University of Edinburgh, UK
4Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
5Dept. Radio and Space Sci., Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Abstract. A high resolution (5×5 km2) UK-scale chemistry-transport model (EMEP4UK) is used to study ground-level ozone (O3) during the August 2003 heat-wave. Meteorology is generated by the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model, nudged every six hours with reanalysis data. We focus on SE England, where hourly average O3 reached up to 140 ppb during the heat-wave. EMEP4UK accurately reproduces observed annual and diurnal cycles of surface O3 at urban and rural sites. Elevated O3 and much of its day-to-day variability during the heat-wave are well captured. Key O3 precursors, nitrogen dioxide and isoprene (C5H8), are less well simulated, but show generally accurate diurnal cycles and concentrations to within a factor of ~2–3 of observations. The modelled surface O3 distribution has an intricate spatio-temporal structure, governed by a combination of meteorology, emissions and photochemistry. A series of sensitivity runs with the model are used to explore the factors that influenced O3 levels during the heat-wave. Various factors appear to be important on different days and at different sites. Ozone imported from outside the model domain, especially the south, is very important on several days during the heat-wave, contributing up to 85 ppb. Dry deposition of O3, when completely switched off, elevated simulated O3 by up to 50 ppb, and this may have been an important factor on several days. Modelled C5H8 concentrations are generally best simulated if C5H8 emissions are changed from the base emissions: typically doubled, but elevated by up to a factor of five on some days. Accurately modelling the exact positions of individual plumes of anthropogenically emitted nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds is crucial for the successful simulation of O3 at a particular time and location. Variations in surface temperature of ±5 K were found to have impacts on O3 of typically less than ±10 ppb.