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Volume 18, issue 19 | Copyright

Special issue: Global and regional assessment of intercontinental transport...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 13925-13945, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Oct 2018

Research article | 02 Oct 2018

Seasonal ozone vertical profiles over North America using the AQMEII3 group of air quality models: model inter-comparison and stratospheric intrusions

Marina Astitha1, Ioannis Kioutsioukis2, Ghezae Araya Fisseha1, Roberto Bianconi3, Johannes Bieser4,5, Jesper H. Christensen6, Owen R. Cooper7,8, Stefano Galmarini9, Christian Hogrefe10, Ulas Im6, Bryan Johnson7, Peng Liu11, Uarporn Nopmongcol12, Irina Petropavlovskikh7, Efisio Solazzo9, David W. Tarasick13, and Greg Yarwood12 Marina Astitha et al.
  • 1University of Connecticut, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Storrs, CT 06269-3037, USA
  • 2University of Patras, Physics Department, 26504 Rio, Greece
  • 3Enviroware srl, via Dante 142, 20863 Concorezzo, Italy
  • 4Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Institute of Coastal Research, Geesthacht, Germany
  • 5German Aerospace Center (DLR), National Aeronautics and Space Center, Weßling, Germany
  • 6Aarhus University, Department of Environmental Science, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
  • 7Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • 8Chemical Sciences Division, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
  • 9European Commission Joint Research Center, Ispra, Italy
  • 10Environmental Protection Agency Research Triangle Park, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
  • 11NRC Fellowship Participant at Environmental Protection Agency Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
  • 12Ramboll, 773 San Marin Dr., Suite 2115, Novato, CA 94945, USA
  • 13Air Quality Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Downsview, Ontario, Canada

Abstract. This study evaluates simulated vertical ozone profiles produced in the framework of the third phase of the Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative (AQMEII3) against ozonesonde observations in North America for the year 2010. Four research groups from the United States (US) and Europe have provided modeled ozone vertical profiles to conduct this analysis. Because some of the modeling systems differ in their meteorological drivers, wind speed and temperature are also included in the analysis. In addition to the seasonal ozone profile evaluation for 2010, we also analyze chemically inert tracers designed to track the influence of lateral boundary conditions on simulated ozone profiles within the modeling domain. Finally, cases of stratospheric ozone intrusions during May–June 2010 are investigated by analyzing ozonesonde measurements and the corresponding model simulations at Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment Ozonesonde Network Study (IONS) experiment sites in the western United States. The evaluation of the seasonal ozone profiles reveals that, at a majority of the stations, ozone mixing ratios are underestimated in the 1–6km range. The seasonal change noted in the errors follows the one seen in the variance of ozone mixing ratios, with the majority of the models exhibiting less variability than the observations. The analysis of chemically inert tracers highlights the importance of lateral boundary conditions up to 250hPa for the lower-tropospheric ozone mixing ratios (0–2km). Finally, for the stratospheric intrusions, the models are generally able to reproduce the location and timing of most intrusions but underestimate the magnitude of the maximum mixing ratios in the 2–6km range and overestimate ozone up to the first kilometer possibly due to marine air influences that are not accurately described by the models. The choice of meteorological driver appears to be a greater predictor of model skill in this altitude range than the choice of air quality model.

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This work is unique in the detailed analyses of modeled ozone vertical profiles from sites in North America through the collaboration of four research groups from the US and EU. We assess the air quality models' performance and model inter-comparison for ozone vertical profiles and stratospheric ozone intrusions. Lastly, we designate the important role of lateral boundary conditions in the ozone vertical profiles using chemically inert tracers.
This work is unique in the detailed analyses of modeled ozone vertical profiles from sites in...