Articles | Volume 3, issue 2
12 Oct 2010
 | 12 Oct 2010

Current status of the ability of the GEMS/MACC models to reproduce the tropospheric CO vertical distribution as measured by MOZAIC

N. Elguindi, H. Clark, C. Ordóñez, V. Thouret, J. Flemming, O. Stein, V. Huijnen, P. Moinat, A. Inness, V.-H. Peuch, A. Stohl, S. Turquety, G. Athier, J.-P. Cammas, and M. Schultz

Abstract. Vertical profiles of CO taken from the MOZAIC aircraft database are used to globally evaluate the performance of the GEMS/MACC models, including the ECMWF-Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) model coupled to the CTM MOZART-3 with 4DVAR data assimilation for the year 2004. This study provides a unique opportunity to compare the performance of three offline CTMs (MOZART-3, MOCAGE and TM5) driven by the same meteorology as well as one coupled atmosphere/CTM model run with data assimilation, enabling us to assess the potential gain brought by the combination of online transport and the 4DVAR chemical satellite data assimilation.

First we present a global analysis of observed CO seasonal averages and interannual variability for the years 2002–2007. Results show that despite the intense boreal forest fires that occurred during the summer in Alaska and Canada, the year 2004 had comparably lower tropospheric CO concentrations. Next we present a validation of CO estimates produced by the MACC models for 2004, including an assessment of their ability to transport pollutants originating from the Alaskan/Canadian wildfires. In general, all the models tend to underestimate CO. The coupled model and the CTMs perform best in Europe and the US where biases range from 0 to -25% in the free troposphere and from 0 to -50% in the surface and boundary layers (BL). Using the 4DVAR technique to assimilate MOPITT V4 CO significantly reduces biases by up to 50% in most regions. However none of the models, even the IFS-MOZART-3 coupled model with assimilation, are able to reproduce well the CO plumes originating from the Alaskan/Canadian wildfires at downwind locations in the eastern US and Europe. Sensitivity tests reveal that deficiencies in the fire emissions inventory and injection height play a role.