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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 15, issue 18 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 10581-10596, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-10581-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 25 Sep 2015

Research article | 25 Sep 2015

Use of North American and European air quality networks to evaluate global chemistry–climate modeling of surface ozone

J. L. Schnell1, M. J. Prather1, B. Josse2, V. Naik3, L. W. Horowitz4, P. Cameron-Smith5, D. Bergmann5, G. Zeng6, D. A. Plummer7, K. Sudo8,9, T. Nagashima10, D. T. Shindell11, G. Faluvegi12, and S. A. Strode13,14 J. L. Schnell et al.
  • 1Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
  • 2GAME/CNRM, Météo-France, CNRS – Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Toulouse, France
  • 3UCAR/NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, NJ, USA
  • 4Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, NJ, USA
  • 5Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, USA
  • 6National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Lauder, New Zealand
  • 7Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis, Environment Canada, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • 8Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
  • 9Department of Environmental Geochemical Cycle Research, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan
  • 10Center for Regional Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
  • 11Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
  • 12NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Columbia Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  • 13NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 14Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD, USA

Abstract. We test the current generation of global chemistry–climate models in their ability to simulate observed, present-day surface ozone. Models are evaluated against hourly surface ozone from 4217 stations in North America and Europe that are averaged over 1° × 1° grid cells, allowing commensurate model–measurement comparison. Models are generally biased high during all hours of the day and in all regions. Most models simulate the shape of regional summertime diurnal and annual cycles well, correctly matching the timing of hourly (~ 15:00 local time (LT)) and monthly (mid-June) peak surface ozone abundance. The amplitude of these cycles is less successfully matched. The observed summertime diurnal range (~ 25 ppb) is underestimated in all regions by about 7 ppb, and the observed seasonal range (~ 21 ppb) is underestimated by about 5 ppb except in the most polluted regions, where it is overestimated by about 5 ppb. The models generally match the pattern of the observed summertime ozone enhancement, but they overestimate its magnitude in most regions. Most models capture the observed distribution of extreme episode sizes, correctly showing that about 80 % of individual extreme events occur in large-scale, multi-day episodes of more than 100 grid cells. The models also match the observed linear relationship between episode size and a measure of episode intensity, which shows increases in ozone abundance by up to 6 ppb for larger-sized episodes. We conclude that the skill of the models evaluated here provides confidence in their projections of future surface ozone.

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We test global chemistry--climate models in their ability to simulate present-day surface ozone. Models are tested against observed hourly ozone from 4217 stations in North America and Europe that are averaged over 1°x1° grid cells. Using novel metrics, we find most models match the shape but not the amplitude of regional summertime diurnal and annual cycles and match the pattern but not the magnitude of summer ozone enhancement. Most also match the observed distribution of extreme episode sizes
We test global chemistry--climate models in their ability to simulate present-day surface ozone....
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