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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Dec 2018

Research article | 07 Dec 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Evaluation of tropospheric ozone and ozone precursors in simulations from the HTAPII and CCMI model intercomparisons – a focus on the Indian Subcontinent

Zainab Q. Hakim1, Scott Archer-Nicholls1, Gufran Beig6, Gerd A. Folberth3, Kengo Sudo4,5, Nathan Luke Abraham1,2, Sachin Ghude6, Daven Henze7, and Alexander T. Archibald1,2 Zainab Q. Hakim et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 2National Centre for Atmospheric Science, UK
  • 3UK Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
  • 4Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
  • 5Japan Agency for Marine – Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Yokohama, Japan
  • 6Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, India
  • 7Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Abstract. Here we present results from an evaluation of model simulations from the International Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution Phase II (HTAPII) and Chemistry Climate Model Initiative (CCMI) model inter-comparison projects against a comprehensive series of ground based, aircraft and satellite observations of ozone mixing ratios made at various locations across India. The study focuses on the recent past (observations from 2008–2013, models from 2008–2010) as this is most pertinent to understanding the health impacts of ozone. To our understanding this is the most comprehensive evaluation of these models' simulations of ozone across the Indian sub-continent to date. This study highlights some significant successes and challenges that the models face in representing the oxidative chemistry of the region.

The multi-model range in area weighted surface ozone over the Indian subcontinent is 37.26–56.11ppb, whilst the population weighted range is 41.38–57.5ppb. When compared against surface observations from the Modelling Atmospheric Pollution and Networking (MAPAN) network of eight semi-urban monitoring sites spread across India, we find that the models tend to simulate higher ozone than that which is observed. However, observations of NOx and CO tend to be much higher than modelled mixing-ratios, suggesting that the underlying emissions used in the models do not characterise these regions accurately and/or that the resolution of the models is not adequate to simulate the photo-chemical environment about these surface observations. Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analysis is used in order to identify the extent to which the models agree with regards to the spatio-temporal distribution of the tropospheric ozone column, derived using OMI-MLS observations. We show that whilst the models agree with the spatial pattern of the first EOF of observed tropospheric ozone column, most of the models simulate a peak in the first EOF seasonal cycle represented by principle component 1, which is later than the observed peak . This suggest a widespread systematic bias in the timing of emissions or some other unknown seasonal process.

In addition to evaluating modelled ozone mixing ratios, we explore modelled emissions of NOx, CO, VOCs, and the ozone response to the emissions. We find a high degree of variation in emissions from non-anthropogenic sources (e.g. lightning NOx and biomass burning CO) between models. Total emissions of NOx and CO over India vary more between different models in the same MIP than the same model used in different MIPs, making it impossible to diagnose whether differences in modelled ozone are due to emissions or model processes. We therefore recommend targeted experiments to pinpoint the exact causes of discrepancies between modelled and observed ozone and ozone precursors for this region. To this end, a higher density of long term monitoring sites measuring not only ozone but also ozone precursors including speciated VOCs, located in more rural regions of the Indian sub-continent, would enable improvements in assessing the biases in models run at the resolution found in HTAPII and CCMI.

Zainab Q. Hakim et al.
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Status: open (until 13 Feb 2019)
Status: open (until 13 Feb 2019)
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Zainab Q. Hakim et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Surface ozone is an important air pollutant and recent work has calculated that large numbers of people die prematurely every year because of exposure to high levels of surface ozone in India. However, these calculations require model simulations of ozone as key inputs. Here we perform the most thorough evaluation of global model surface ozone over India to-date. These analyses of model simulations and observations highlight some successes and shortcomings and the need for further work.
Surface ozone is an important air pollutant and recent work has calculated that large numbers of...