1Air Quality Research Division, Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3H 5T4, Canada
2Air Quality Science Unit, Environment Canada, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
3Air Quality Modelling Applications Section, Environment Canada, 2121 TransCanada Highway, Dorval, Quebec, H9P 1J3, Canada
4Cloud Physics and Severe Weather Research Section, Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Abstract. Ten different approaches for applying lateral and top climatological boundary conditions for ozone have been evaluated using the off-line regional air-quality model AURAMS, driven with meteorology provided by the GEM weather-forecast model. All ten approaches employ the same climatological ozone profiles, but differ in the manner in which they are applied, via the inclusion or exclusion of (i) a dynamic adjustment of the climatological ozone profile in response to the model-predicted tropopause height, (ii) a sponge zone for ozone on the model top, (iii) upward extrapolation of the climatological ozone profile, and (iv) different mass consistency corrections. The model performance for each approach was evaluated against North American surface ozone and ozonesonde observations from the BAQS-Met field study period in the summer of 2007. The original daily one-hour maximum surface ozone biases of about +15 ppbv were greatly reduced (halved) in some simulations using alternative methodologies. However, comparisons to ozonesonde observations showed that the reduction in surface ozone bias sometimes came at the cost of significant positive biases in ozone concentrations in the free troposphere and upper troposphere. The best overall performance throughout the troposphere was achieved using a methodology that included dynamic tropopause height adjustment, no sponge zone at the model top, extrapolation of ozone when required above the limit of the climatology, and no mass consistency corrections (global mass conservation was still enforced). The simulation using this model version had a one-hour daily maximum surface ozone bias of +8.6 ppbv, with small reductions in model correlation, and the best comparison to ozonesonde profiles. This recommended and original methodologies were compared for two further case studies: a high-resolution simulation of the BAQS-Met measurement intensive, and a study of the downwind region of the Canadian Rockies. Significant improvements were noted for the high resolution simulations during the BAQS-Met measurement intensive period, both in formal statistical comparisons and time series comparisons of events at surface stations. The tests for the downwind-Rockies region showed that the coupling between vertical transport associated with troposphere/stratosphere exchange, and that associated with boundary layer turbulent mixing, may contribute to ozone positive biases. The results may be unique to the modelling setup employed, but the results also highlight the importance of evaluating boundary condition and mass consistency/correction algorithms against three-dimensional datasets.