1School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, China
2National Center for Atmospheric Research, CO, USA
3LAGEO, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100029, China
4State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Science, Guangzhou 510640, China
*now at: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA 99532, USA
Abstract. This study investigated the impacts of seasonal and regional variability in biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) on surface ozone over the Pearl River delta (PRD) region in southern China in 2010 with the WRF–Chem/MEGAN (Weather Research and Forecasting coupled with Chemistry/Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature) modeling system. Compared to observations in the literature and this study, MEGAN tends to predict reasonable BVOC emissions in summer, but may overestimate isoprene emissions in autumn, even when the local high-resolution land-cover data and observed emission factors of BVOCs from local plant species are combined to constrain the MEGAN BVOC emissions model. With the standard MEGAN output, it is shown that the impact of BVOC emissions on the surface ozone peak is ~3 ppb on average with a maximum of 24.8 ppb over the PRD region in autumn, while the impact is ~10 ppb on average, with a maximum value of 34.0 ppb in summer. The areas where surface ozone is sensitive to BVOC emissions are different in autumn and in summer, which is primarily due to the change of prevailing wind over the PRD; nevertheless, in both autumn and summer, the surface ozone is most sensitive to the BVOC emissions in the urban area because the area is usually VOC-limited. Three additional experiments concerning the sensitivity of surface ozone to MEGAN input variables were also performed to assess the sensitivity of surface ozone to MEGAN drivers, and the results reveal that land cover and emission factors of BVOCs are the most important drivers and have large impacts on the predicted surface ozone.