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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 22 Jul 2019

Submitted as: research article | 22 Jul 2019

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

Why models perform differently on particulate matter over East Asia? – A multi-model intercomparison study for MICS-Asia III

Jiani Tan1, Joshua S. Fu1, Gregory R. Carmichael2, Syuichi Itahashi3, Zhining Tao4, Kan Huang1,5, Xinyi Dong1, Kazuyo Yamaji6, Tatsuya Nagashima7, Xuemei Wang8, Yiming Liu8, Hyo-Jung Lee9, Chuan-Yao Lin10, Baozhu Ge11, Mizuo Kajino12, Jia Zhu11, Meigen Zhang11, Liao Hong13, and Zifa Wang11 Jiani Tan et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, 37996, USA
  • 2Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 52242
  • 3Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, Abiko, Chiba, 270-1194, Japan
  • 4Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD, 21046, USA
  • 5Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200433, China
  • 6Graduate School of Maritime Sciences, Kobe University, Kobe, Hyogo, 658-0022, Japan
  • 7National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8506, Japan
  • 8Institute for Environment and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou, 511443, China
  • 9Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan, 609-735, South Korea
  • 10Research Center for Environmental Changes Academia Sinica, 11529, Taiwan
  • 11Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Science, 100029, China
  • 12Meteorological Research Institute, Japan Meteorological Agency, 305-0052, Japan
  • 13School of Environmental, Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing, 210044, China

Abstract. This study compares the performances of twelve regional chemical transport models (CTM) from the third phase of Model Inter-Comparison Study for Asia (MICS-Asia III) on simulating the particulate matter (PM) over East Asia (EA) in 2010. The participating models include WRF-CMAQ (v4.7.1 and v5.0.2), WRF-Chem (v3.6.1 and v3.7.1), GEOS-Chem, NHM-Chem, NAQPMS and NU-WRF. Evaluations with ground measurements and satellite data show that the mean biases of multi-model mean (MMM) are −25 µg m−3 (−30 %), −7 µg m−3 (−15 %). −0.7 µg m−3 (−19 %), −0.05 µg m−3 (−3 %) and 0.1 µg m−3 (12 %) for surface PM10, PM2.5, SO42−, NO3 and NH4+ concentrations, respectively. This study investigates four model processes as the possible reasons for different model performances on PM: (1) Using different natural emissions (i.e. dust and sea-salt emissions) brings upmost 0.25 µg m−3 (70 %) of inter-model differences to domain-average black carbon concentrations at surface layer and 756 ppb (22 %) of inter-model differences to domain-average CO column. Adopting different initial/boundary conditions results in 10–20 % differences in PM concentrations in the center of the simulation domain. (2) Models perform very differently in the gas-particle conversion of sulphur (S) and oxidized nitrogen (N). The model differences in sulphur oxidation ratio (50 %) is of the same magnitude as that in SO42− concentrations. The gas-particle conversion is one the main reasons for different model performances on fine mode PM. (3) Models without dust emissions/modules can perform well on PM10 at non-dust-affected sites, but largely underestimate (upmost 50 %) the PM10 concentrations at dust sites. The implementation of dust emissions/modules in models has largely improved the model accuracies at dust sites (reduce model bias to −20 %). However, both the magnitudes and distributions of dust pollutions are not fully captured. (4) The amounts of modelled depositions vary among models by 75 %, 39 %, 21 % and 38 % for S wet, S dry, N wet and N dry depositions, respectively. Large inter-model differences are found in the washout ratios of wet deposition (at most 170 % in India) and dry deposition velocities (general 0.3–2 cm s−1 differences over inland regions). This study investigates the reasons for different model performances on PM over EA and offers suggestions for future model development.

Jiani Tan et al.
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Short summary
This study evaluated the performances of twelve chemical transport models from MICS-Asia III on predicting the particulate matter (PM) over East Asia. Four model processes were investigated as the possible reasons for model bias with measurements and the factors causing inconsistent predictions of PM from different models: (1) model inputs (2) gas-particle conversion (3) dust emissions and modules (4) removal mechanisms – wet and dry depositions. The influence of each process was discussed.
This study evaluated the performances of twelve chemical transport models from MICS-Asia III on...