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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 12 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 12 Nov 2019

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

Inverse modeling of SO2 and NOx emissions over China using multi-sensor satellite data: 2. Downscaling techniques for air quality analysis and forecasts

Yi Wang1, Jun Wang1,2, Meng Zhou1, Daven K. Henze3, Cui Ge2,4, and Wei Wang5 Yi Wang et al.
  • 1Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Informatics, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
  • 2Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, and Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
  • 3Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • 4South Coast Air Quality Management District, Diamond Bar, CA 91765, USA
  • 5China National Environmental Monitoring Center, Beijing 100012, China

Abstract. Top-down emissions estimates provide valuable up-to-date information on pollution sources; however, the computational effort involved with developing these emissions often requires them to be estimated at resolutions that are much coarser than is necessary for regional air-quality forecasting. This work thus introduces several approaches to downscaling coarse-resolution (2° × 2.5°) posterior SO2 and NOx emissions (derived through inverse modeling in Part I of this study) for improving air quality assessment and forecasts over China in October 2013. The SO2 and NOx emission inverse modeling was conducted at the 2° × 2.5° resolution in Part I to save computational time. The prior emission inventory (MIX) as well as the posterior GEOS-Chem simulations of surface SO2 and NO2 concentrations at this resolution underestimate observed hot spots, which is called the Coarse-Grid Smearing (CGS) effect. To mitigate the CGS effect, four methods are developed: (a) downscale 2° × 2.5° GEOS-Chem surface SO2 and NO2 concentrations to the resolution of 0.25° × 0.3125° through a Dynamic Downscaling Concentration (MIX-DDC) approach, which assumes that the 0.25° × 0.3125° simulation using the prior MIX emissions has the correct spatial distribution of SO2 and NO2 concentrations but a systematic bias; (b) downscale surface NO2 simulations at 2° × 2.5° to 0.05° × 0.05° according to the spatial distribution of Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Nighttime Light observations (e.g., NL-DC approach) based on correlation between VIIRS NL intensity with TROPOMI NO2 observations; (c) Downscale posterior Emissions (DE) of SO2 and NOx to 0.25° × 0.3125° with the assumption that the prior fine-resolution MIX inventory has the correct spatial distribution (e.g., MIX-DE approach); and (d) downscale posterior NOx emissions using VIIRS NL observations (e.g., NL-DE approach). Numerical experiments reveal that: (a) using the MIX-DDC approach, posterior SO2 and NO2 simulations improve compared to the corresponding MIX prior simulations with normalized centered root mean square error (NCRMSE) decreases of 63.7 % and 30.2 %, respectively; (b) the NO2 simulation has an NCRMSE that is 17.9 % smaller than the prior NO2 simulation when they are both downscaled through NL_DC, and NL_DC is able to better mitigate the CGS effect than MIX-DDC; (c) the simulation at 0.25° × 0.3125° using the MIX-DE approach has NCRMSEs that are 58.8 % and 14.7 % smaller than the prior 0.25° × 0.3125° MIX simulation for surface SO2 and NO2 concentrations, respectively, but the RMSE from the MIX-DE posterior simulation is slightly larger than that from the MIX-DDC posterior simulation for both SO2 and NO2; (d) the NL-DE posterior NO2 simulation also improves on the prior MIX simulation at 0.25° × 0.3125°, but it is worse than the MIX-DE posterior simulation; (e) in terms of evaluating the downscaled SO2 and NO2 simulations simultaneously, using the posterior SO2 and NOx emissions from joint inverse modeling of both species is better than only using one (SO2 or NOx) emissions from corresponding single-species inverse modeling and is similar to using the posterior emissions for both SO2 and inventories from single-species inverse modeling. Forecasts of surface concentrations for November 2013 using the posterior emissions obtained by applying the posterior MIX-DE emissions for October 2013 with the monthly variation information derived from the prior MIX emission inventory show (a) the improvements of forecasting surface SO2 concentrations through MIX-DE and MIX-DDC are comparable; (b) for NO2 forecast, MIX-DE show larger improvement than NL-DE and MIX-DDC; (c) NL-DC is able to better decrease the CGS effect than MIX-DE, but shows larger NCRMSE. Overall, for practical forecasting of air quality, it is recommended to use satellite-based observation already available from the last month to jointly constrain SO2 and NO2 emissions at coarser resolution and then downscale these posterior emissions at finer spatial resolution suitable for regional air quality model for the present month.

Yi Wang et al.
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Status: open (until 07 Jan 2020)
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Yi Wang et al.
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Short summary
We in this manuscript developed 4 different methods to downscale SO2 and NO2 emissions derived from OMPS satellite (in part I) for regional air quality modeling at the spatial resolution that is finer that satellite observations. The VIIRS (city-lights), TROPOMI, and OMI satellite data as well as surface data are used to evaluate the model. The method of using the top-down emission from the past month for the air quality forecast in the present month is also validated to have practical merits.
We in this manuscript developed 4 different methods to downscale SO2 and NO2 emissions derived...