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Volume 15, issue 24 | Copyright

Special issue: Monitoring atmospheric composition and climate, research in...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 14005-14030, 2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 18 Dec 2015

Research article | 18 Dec 2015

Evaluation of the MACC operational forecast system – potential and challenges of global near-real-time modelling with respect to reactive gases in the troposphere

A. Wagner1, A.-M. Blechschmidt2, I. Bouarar3,a, E.-G. Brunke4, C. Clerbaux3, M. Cupeiro5, P. Cristofanelli6, H. Eskes7, J. Flemming8, H. Flentje1, M. George3, S. Gilge1, A. Hilboll2, A. Inness8, J. Kapsomenakis9, A. Richter2, L. Ries10, W. Spangl11, O. Stein12, R. Weller13, and C. Zerefos9 A. Wagner et al.
  • 1Deutscher Wetterdienst, Meteorologisches Observatorium Hohenpeissenberg, Hohenpeissenberg, Germany
  • 2Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 3Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Université Versailles St-Quentin, CNRS/INSU, LATMOS-IPSL, Paris, France
  • 4South African Weather Service, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • 5National Meteorological Service, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
  • 6National Research Council of Italy, ISAC, Bologna, Italy
  • 7Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, the Netherlands
  • 8European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK
  • 9Academy of Athens, Research Centre for Atmospheric Physics and Climatology, Athens, Greece
  • 10Federal Environment Agency, GAW Global Station Zugspitze/Hohenpeissenberg, Zugspitze 5, 82475 Zugspitze, Germany
  • 11Umweltbundesamt GmbH, Air Pollution Control & Climate Change Mitigation, Vienna, Austria
  • 12Forschungszentrum Jülich, IEK-8 (Troposphere), Jülich, Germany
  • 13Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • anow at: Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. The Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate (MACC) project represents the European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) (, which became fully operational during 2015. The global near-real-time MACC model production run for aerosol and reactive gases provides daily analyses and 5-day forecasts of atmospheric composition fields. It is the only assimilation system worldwide that is operational to produce global analyses and forecasts of reactive gases and aerosol fields. We have investigated the ability of the MACC analysis system to simulate tropospheric concentrations of reactive gases covering the period between 2009 and 2012. A validation was performed based on carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3) surface observations from the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) network, the O3 surface observations from the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) and, furthermore, NO2 tropospheric columns, as well as CO total columns, derived from satellite sensors. The MACC system proved capable of reproducing reactive gas concentrations with consistent quality; however, with a seasonally dependent bias compared to surface and satellite observations – for northern hemispheric surface O3 mixing ratios, positive biases appear during the warm seasons and negative biases during the cold parts of the year, with monthly modified normalised mean biases (MNMBs) ranging between −30 and 30 % at the surface. Model biases are likely to result from difficulties in the simulation of vertical mixing at night and deficiencies in the model's dry deposition parameterisation. Observed tropospheric columns of NO2 and CO could be reproduced correctly during the warm seasons, but are mostly underestimated by the model during the cold seasons, when anthropogenic emissions are at their highest level, especially over the US, Europe and Asia. Monthly MNMBs of the satellite data evaluation range from values between −110 and 40 % for NO2 and at most −20 % for CO, over the investigated regions. The underestimation is likely to result from a combination of errors concerning the dry deposition parameterisation and certain limitations in the current emission inventories, together with an insufficiently established seasonality in the emissions.

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Short summary
The Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate project (MACC) operationally produces global analyses and forecasts of reactive gases and aerosol fields. We have investigated the ability of the model to simulate concentrations of reactive gases (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone) between 2009 and 2012. The model reproduced reactive gas concentrations with consistent quality, however, with a seasonally dependent bias compared to surface and satellite observations.
The Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate project (MACC) operationally produces global...