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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-739
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-739
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 27 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 27 Sep 2019

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

Modeling diurnal variation of surface PM2.5 concentration over East China with WRF-Chem: Impacts from boundary layer mixing and anthropogenic emission

Qiuyan Du1, Chun Zhao1, Mingshuai Zhang1, Xue Dong1,2, Yu Chen1, Zhen Liu3, Zhiyuan Hu4, Qiang Zhang5, Yubin Li6, Renmin Yuan1, and Shiguang Miao7 Qiuyan Du et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China
  • 2PowerChina HuadongEngineering Corporation Limited, Hangzhou, China
  • 3School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • 4Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China
  • 5Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
  • 6School of Atmospheric Physics, Nanjing University of Information and Technology, Nanjing, China
  • 7Institute of Urban Meteorology, Chinese Meteorology Administration, Beijing, China

Abstract. Diurnal variation of surface PM2.5 concentration (diurnal PM2.5) could dramatically affect aerosol radiative and healthy impact, and can also well reflect the physical and chemical mechanisms of air pollution formation and evolution. So far, diurnal PM2.5 and its modeling capability over East China have not been investigated, and therefore, are examined in this study. Based on the observations, the normalized diurnal amplitude of surface PM2.5 concentrations averaged over East China is the weakest (~1.2) in winter, and reaches ~1.5 in other seasons. The diurnal PM2.5 shows the peak concentration during the night in spring and fall and during the daytime in summer. The simulated diurnal PM2.5 with WRF-Chem and its contributions from multiple physical and chemical processes are examined in the four seasons. The simulated diurnal PM2.5 with WRF-Chem is primarily controlled by planetary boundary layer (PBL) mixing and emission variations, and significantly overestimates the observations during the night. This modeling bias is likely primarily due to the inefficient PBL mixing of primary PM2.5 during the night. The simulated diurnal PM2.5 is sensitive to the PBL schemes and vertical layer configurations with WRF-Chem. The PBL mixing coefficient instead of PBL height is found as the critical factor determining the PBL mixing of pollutants in WRF-Chem. The increase of lower limit of PBL mixing coefficient during the night can significantly reduce the modeling biases in diurnal PM2.5 and also the mean concentrations, particularly at the major cities of East China. It can also reduce the modeling sensitivity to the PBL vertical layer configurations. The diurnal variation and injection height of anthropogenic emissions also play roles on simulating diurnal PM2.5, but the impact is relatively smaller than that from the PBL mixing. This study underscores that more efforts are needed to improve the boundary mixing process of pollutants in models with observations of PBL structure and mixing fluxes in addition to PBL height, in order to simulate reasonably the diurnal PM2.5 over East China. The diurnal variation and injection height of anthropogenic emissions are also necessary to be included to simulate the diurnal PM2.5 over East China.

Qiuyan Du et al.
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Status: open (until 22 Nov 2019)
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