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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 05 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 05 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Assessment of natural and anthropogenic aerosol air pollution in the Middle East using MERRA-2, CAMS data assimilation products,and high-resolution WRF-Chem model simulations

Alexander Ukhov1, Suleiman Mostamandi1, Arlindo da Silva2, Johannes Flemming3, Yasser Alshehri1, Illia Shevchenko1, and Georgiy Stenchikov1 Alexander Ukhov et al.
  • 1King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Green-belt, MD, USA
  • 3European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK

Abstract. Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications v.2 (MERRA-2), Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service Operational Analysis (CAMS-OA) data assimilation products, and a regional Weather Research and Forecasting model (10 km resolution) coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) were used to evaluate natural and anthropogenic aerosol air pollution in the ME during 2015–2016. Satellite and ground-based AOD observations, as well as in-situ Particulate Matter (PM) measurements for 2016, were used for validation.

WRF-Chem code was modified to correct the calculation of dust gravitational settling and aerosol optical properties. The dust emission in WRF-Chem is calibrated to fit Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) and aerosol volume size distributions obtained from Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) observations. MERRA-2 was used to construct WRF-Chem initial and boundary conditions both for meteorology and chemical/aerosol species. SO2 emissions in WRF-Chem are based on the novel NASA SO2 emission dataset that reveals unaccounted sources over the ME.

Although aerosol fields in WRF-Chem and assimilation products are quite consistent, WRF-Chem, due to its higher spatial resolution and better SO2 emissions, is preferable for analysis of regional air-quality over the ME. The WRF-Chem's PM background concentrations exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines over the entire ME. The major contributor to PM (~ 75–95 %) is mineral dust. In the ME urban centers and near oil recovery fields, non-dust aerosols (primarily sulfate) contribute up to 26 % into PM2.5. The contribution of sea salt into PM can rich up to 5 %. The contribution of organic matter into PM prevails over black carbon.

Alexander Ukhov et al.

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Alexander Ukhov et al.

Alexander Ukhov et al.


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Latest update: 18 Feb 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The data assimilation products, MERRA2 and CAMS, are tested over the Middle East (ME) against the in-situ and satellite observations. For the first time, we compared the new MODIS aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrieval, MAIAC, with the deep blue/dark target MODIS AOD. We conducted two-year high-resolution WRF-Chem simulations with the most accurate OMI-HTAP SO2 emissions to estimate the contribution of natural and anthropogenic aerosols into the PM pollution in the ME.
The data assimilation products, MERRA2 and CAMS, are tested over the Middle East (ME) against...