1Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 8208, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
2School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
3School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
4School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
5Institute of Chemical Engineering and High Temperature Chemical Processes (ICE-HT), Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH), Patras, 26504, Greece
Abstract. The US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modeling system version 4.7 is further developed to enhance its capability in simulating the photochemical cycles in the presence of dust particles. The new model treatments implemented in CMAQ v4.7 in this work include two online dust emission schemes (i.e., the Zender and Westphal schemes), nine dust-related heterogeneous reactions, an updated aerosol inorganic thermodynamic module ISORROPIA II with an explicit treatment of crustal species, and the interface between ISORROPIA II and the new dust treatments. The resulting improved CMAQ (referred to as CMAQ-Dust), offline-coupled with the Weather Research and Forecast model (WRF), is applied to the April 2001 dust storm episode over the trans-Pacific domain to examine the impact of new model treatments and understand associated uncertainties. WRF/CMAQ-Dust produces reasonable spatial distribution of dust emissions and captures the dust outbreak events, with the total dust emissions of ~111 and 223 Tg when using the Zender scheme with an erodible fraction of 0.5 and 1.0, respectively. The model system can reproduce well observed meteorological and chemical concentrations, with significant improvements for suspended particulate matter (PM), PM with aerodynamic diameter of 10 μm, and aerosol optical depth than the default CMAQ v4.7. The sensitivity studies show that the inclusion of crustal species reduces the concentration of PM with aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 μm (PM2.5) over polluted areas. The heterogeneous chemistry occurring on dust particles acts as a sink for some species (e.g., as a lower limit estimate, reducing O3 by up to 3.8 ppb (~9%) and SO2 by up to 0.3 ppb (~27%)) and as a source for some others (e.g., increasing fine-mode SO42− by up to 1.1 μg m−3 (~12%) and PM2.5 by up to 1.4 μg m−3 (~3%)) over the domain. The long-range transport of Asian pollutants can enhance the surface concentrations of gases by up to 3% and aerosol species by up to 20% in the Western US.