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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 02 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 02 Oct 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).

Evaluation of NU-WRF Performance on Air Quality Simulation under Various Model Resolutions – An Investigation within Framework of MICS-Asia Phase III

Zhining Tao1,2, Mian Chin2, Meng Gao3, Tom Kucsera1,2, Dongchul Kim1,2, Huisheng Bian2,4, Jun-ichi Kurokawa5, Yuesi Wang6, Gregory R. Carmichael7, Zifa Wang6,8,9, and Hajime Akimoto10 Zhining Tao et al.
  • 1Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD, USA
  • 2NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 3John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 4University of Maryland at Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
  • 5Japan Environmental Sanitation Center, Asia Center for Air Pollution Research, Niigata, 950- 2144, Japan
  • 6State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100029, China
  • 7Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  • 8College of Earth Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China
  • 9Center for Excellence in Urban Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen, 361021, China
  • 10National Institute for Environmental Studies, Onogawa, Tsukuba, 305-8506, Japan

Abstract. Horizontal grid resolution has a profound effect on model performances on meteorology and air quality simulations. In contribution to MICS-Asia Phase III, one of whose goals was to identify and reduce model uncertainty in air quality prediction, this study examined the impact of grid resolution on meteorology and air quality over East Asia, focusing on the North China Plain (NCP) region. NASA Unified Weather Research and Forecasting (NU-WRF) model has been applied with the horizontal resolutions at 45-, 15-, and 5-km. The results revealed that, in comparison with ground observations, no single resolution can yield the best model performance for all variables across all stations. From a regional average perspective (i.e., across all monitoring sites), air temperature modeling was not sensitive to the grid resolution but wind and precipitation simulation showed the opposite. NU-WRF with the 5-km grid simulated the best wind speed, while the 45-km grid yielded the most realistic precipitation as compared to the site observations. For air quality simulations, finer resolution generally led to better comparisons with observations for O3, CO, NOx, and PM2.5. However, the improvement of model performance on air quality was not linear with the resolution increase. The accuracy of modeled surface O3 out of the 15-km grid was greatly improved over the one from the 45-km grid. Further increase of grid resolution, however, showed diminished impact on model performance on O3 prediction. In addition, finer resolution grid showed large advantage to better capture the frequency of high pollution occurrences. This was important for assessment of noncompliance of ambient air quality standards, which was key to air quality planning and management. Balancing the findings and resource limitation, a 15-km grid resolution was suggested for future MICS-Asia air quality modeling activity. This investigation also found out large overestimate of ground-level O3 and underestimate of surface NOx and CO, likely due to missing emissions of NOx and CO.

Zhining Tao et al.
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Short summary
One goal of the Model Inter-Comparison Study for Asia (MICS-Asia) Phase III is to identify strength/weakness of current air quality models to provide insights on reducing uncertainties. This study identified that a 15-km grid would be the optimal horizontal resolution to capture average and extreme air quality over East Asia in terms of performance and resource usage, and thus suggested for use in future MICS-Asia modeling activities.
One goal of the Model Inter-Comparison Study for Asia (MICS-Asia) Phase III is to identify...