Articles | Volume 3, issue 1
23 Feb 2010
 | 23 Feb 2010

Sensitivity of the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model v4.7 results for the eastern United States to MM5 and WRF meteorological drivers

K. W. Appel, S. J. Roselle, R. C. Gilliam, and J. E. Pleim

Abstract. This paper presents a comparison of the operational performances of two Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model v4.7 simulations that utilize input data from the 5th-generation Mesoscale Model (MM5) and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) meteorological models. Two sets of CMAQ model simulations were performed for January and August 2006. One set utilized MM5 meteorology (MM5-CMAQ) and the other utilized WRF meteorology (WRF-CMAQ), while all other model inputs and options were kept the same. For January, predicted ozone (O3) mixing ratios were higher in the Southeast and lower Mid-west regions in the WRF-CMAQ simulation, resulting in slightly higher bias and error as compared to the MM5-CMAQ simulations. The higher predicted O3 mixing ratios are attributed to less dry deposition of O3 in the WRF-CMAQ simulation due to differences in the calculation of the vegetation fraction between the MM5 and WRF models. The WRF-CMAQ results showed better performance for particulate sulfate (SO42−), similar performance for nitrate (NO3), and slightly worse performance for nitric acid (HNO3), total carbon (TC) and total fine particulate (PM2.5) mass than the corresponding MM5-CMAQ results. For August, predictions of O3 were notably higher in the WRF-CMAQ simulation, particularly in the southern United States, resulting in increased model bias. Concentrations of predicted particulate SO42− were lower in the region surrounding the Ohio Valley and higher along the Gulf of Mexico in the WRF-CMAQ simulation, contributing to poorer model performance. The primary causes of the differences in the MM5-CMAQ and WRF-CMAQ simulations appear to be due to differences in the calculation of wind speed, planetary boundary layer height, cloud cover and the friction velocity (u) in the MM5 and WRF model simulations, while differences in the calculation of vegetation fraction and several other parameters result in smaller differences in the predicted CMAQ model concentrations. The performance for SO42−, NO3 and NH4+ wet deposition was similar for both simulations for January and August.