Articles | Volume 7, issue 6
Geosci. Model Dev., 7, 2817–2829, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-7-2817-2014
Geosci. Model Dev., 7, 2817–2829, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-7-2817-2014

Methods for assessment of models 02 Dec 2014

Methods for assessment of models | 02 Dec 2014

Uncertainty in Lagrangian pollutant transport simulations due to meteorological uncertainty from a mesoscale WRF ensemble

W. M. Angevine1,2, J. Brioude1,2,3, S. McKeen1,2, and J. S. Holloway1,2,* W. M. Angevine et al.
  • 1Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3Laboratoire de l'Atmosphere et des Cyclones, UMR8105, CNRS-Meteo France-Universite La Reunion, La Reunion, France
  • *retired

Abstract. Lagrangian particle dispersion models require meteorological fields as input. Uncertainty in the driving meteorology is one of the major uncertainties in the results. The propagation of uncertainty through the system is not simple, and it has not been thoroughly explored. Here, we take an ensemble approach. Six different configurations of the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model drive otherwise identical simulations with FLEXPART-WRF for 49 days over eastern North America. The ensemble spreads of wind speed, mixing height, and tracer concentration are presented. Uncertainty of tracer concentrations due solely to meteorological uncertainty is 30–40%. Spatial and temporal averaging reduces the uncertainty marginally. Tracer age uncertainty due solely to meteorological uncertainty is 15–20%. These are lower bounds on the uncertainty, because a number of processes are not accounted for in the analysis.

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Short summary
Uncertainty in Lagrangian particle dispersion model simulations was evaluated using an ensemble of WRF meteorological model runs. Uncertainty of tracer concentrations due solely to meteorological uncertainty is 30-40%. Spatial and temporal averaging reduces the uncertainty marginally. Tracer age uncertainty due solely to meteorological uncertainty is 15-20%. These are lower bounds on the uncertainty, because a number of processes are not accounted for in the analysis.