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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-967
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-967
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Oct 2018

Research article | 19 Oct 2018

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

An Evaluation of the Efficacy of Very High Resolution Air-Quality Modelling over the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada

Matthew Russell1, Amir Hakami1, Paul A. Makar2, Ayodeji Akingunola2, Junhua Zhang2, Michael D. Moran2, and Qiong Zheng2 Matthew Russell et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • 2Air Quality Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada

Abstract. We examine the potential benefits of very high resolution for air-quality forecast simulations using a nested system of the Global Environmental Multiscale – Modelling Air-quality and Chemistry chemical transport model. We focus on simulations at 1km and 2.5km grid-cell spacing for the same time period and domain (the industrial emissions region of the Athabasca Oil Sands). Standard grid-cell to observation station pair analyses show no benefit to the higher resolution simulation (and a degradation of performance for most metrics using this standard form of evaluation). However, when the evaluation methodology is modified, to include a search over equivalent representative regions surrounding the observation locations for the closest fit to the observations, the model simulation with the smaller grid cell size had the better performance. While other sources of model error thus dominate net performance at these two resolutions, obscuring the potential benefits of higher resolution modelling for forecasting purposes, the higher resolution simulation shows promise in terms of better aiding localized chemical analysis of pollutant plumes, through better representation of plume maxima.

Matthew Russell et al.
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Matthew Russell et al.
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Short summary
High resolution air-quality forecast modeling results are compared for two different grid spacings for the Environment and Climate Change Canada GEM-MACH model. While the higher resolution simulations have worse formal error scores, we show that the higher resolution model nevertheless has the ability to better resolve plume maxima, and has better performance when the evaluation occurs on an equal-representative-area basis.
High resolution air-quality forecast modeling results are compared for two different grid...
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