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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 17, issue 12 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 7291-7309, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-7291-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 17 Jun 2017

Research article | 17 Jun 2017

WRF-Chem simulation of aerosol seasonal variability in the San Joaquin Valley

Longtao Wu1, Hui Su1, Olga V. Kalashnikova1, Jonathan H. Jiang1, Chun Zhao2, Michael J. Garay1, James R. Campbell3, and Nanpeng Yu4 Longtao Wu et al.
  • 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 2School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China
  • 3Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA, USA
  • 4University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA, USA

Abstract. WRF-Chem simulations of aerosol seasonal variability in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV), California, are evaluated by satellite and in situ observations. Results show that the WRF-Chem model successfully captures the distribution and magnitude of and variation in SJV aerosols during the cold season. However, aerosols are not well represented in the warm season. Aerosol simulations in urban areas during the cold season are sensitive to model horizontal resolution, with better simulations at 4km resolution than at 20km resolution, mainly due to inhomogeneous distribution of anthropogenic emissions and precipitation that is represented better in the 4km simulation. In rural areas, the model sensitivity to grid size is rather small. Our observational analysis reveals that dust is a primary contributor to aerosols in the SJV, especially during the warm season. Aerosol simulations in the warm season are sensitive to the parameterization of dust emission in WRF-Chem. The GOCART (Goddard Global Ozone Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport) dust scheme produces very little dust in the SJV, while the DUSTRAN (DUST TRANsport model) scheme overestimates dust emission. Vertical mixing of aerosols is not adequately represented in the model based on CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared pathfinder Satellite Observation) aerosol extinction profiles. Improved representation of dust emission and vertical mixing in the boundary layer is needed for better simulations of aerosols during the warm season in the SJV.

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The WRF-Chem simulation successfully captures aerosol variations in the cold season in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) but has poor performance in the warm season. High-resolution model simulation can better resolve nonhomogeneous distribution of anthropogenic emissions in urban areas, resulting in better simulation of aerosols in the cold season in the SJV. Poor performance of the WRF-Chem model in the warm season in the SJV is mainly due to misrepresentation of dust emission and vertical mixing.
The WRF-Chem simulation successfully captures aerosol variations in the cold season in the San...
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