Articles | Volume 10, issue 4
Development and technical paper
13 Apr 2017
Development and technical paper |  | 13 Apr 2017

A framework for expanding aqueous chemistry in the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model version 5.1

Kathleen M. Fahey, Annmarie G. Carlton, Havala O. T. Pye, Jaemeen Baek, William T. Hutzell, Charles O. Stanier, Kirk R. Baker, K. Wyat Appel, Mohammed Jaoui, and John H. Offenberg

Abstract. This paper describes the development and implementation of an extendable aqueous-phase chemistry option (AQCHEM − KMT(I)) for the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modeling system, version 5.1. Here, the Kinetic PreProcessor (KPP), version 2.2.3, is used to generate a Rosenbrock solver (Rodas3) to integrate the stiff system of ordinary differential equations (ODEs) that describe the mass transfer, chemical kinetics, and scavenging processes of CMAQ clouds. CMAQ's standard cloud chemistry module (AQCHEM) is structurally limited to the treatment of a simple chemical mechanism. This work advances our ability to test and implement more sophisticated aqueous chemical mechanisms in CMAQ and further investigate the impacts of microphysical parameters on cloud chemistry.

Box model cloud chemistry simulations were performed to choose efficient solver and tolerance settings, evaluate the implementation of the KPP solver, and assess the direct impacts of alternative solver and kinetic mass transfer on predicted concentrations for a range of scenarios. Month-long CMAQ simulations for winter and summer periods over the US reveal the changes in model predictions due to these cloud module updates within the full chemical transport model. While monthly average CMAQ predictions are not drastically altered between AQCHEM and AQCHEM − KMT, hourly concentration differences can be significant. With added in-cloud secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from biogenic epoxides (AQCHEM − KMTI), normalized mean error and bias statistics are slightly improved for 2-methyltetrols and 2-methylglyceric acid at the Research Triangle Park measurement site in North Carolina during the Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS) period. The added in-cloud chemistry leads to a monthly average increase of 11–18 % in cloud SOA at the surface in the eastern United States for June 2013.

Short summary
Chemical transport models (CTMs) are a crucial tool in understanding links between emissions, air quality, and climate. Only a simple description of cloud chemistry has been implemented in many of these; however, clouds play a major role in the physicochemical processing of atmospheric species. In CMAQ, EPA’s widely used CTM, the cloud code is limited to the treatment of simple chemistry. We update CMAQ clouds to consider additional chemistry and then examine regional impacts of these updates.