Submitted as: model evaluation paper
24 May 2024
Submitted as: model evaluation paper |  | 24 May 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Simulations of Snow Physicochemical Properties in Northern China using WRF-Chem

Xia Wang, Tao Che, Xueyin Ruan, Shanna Yue, Jing Wang, Chun Zhao, and Lei Geng

Abstract. Snow is a key component of the cryosphere and has significant impacts on surface energy balance, hydrology, atmospheric circulation, and etc. In addition, numerous studies have indicated that snow impurities, especially nitrate, are sensitive to sunlight and can be photolyzed to emit reactive species including NO2 and HONO, which serve as precursors of O3 and radicals and disturb the overlying atmospheric chemistry. This makes snow a reservoir of reactive species, and this reservoir is particularly important in remote and pristine regions with limited anthropogenic emissions. The magnitude of snow chemical emissions is also influenced by snow physical properties, including snow depth, density and concentrations of light-absorbing impurities (e.g., BC and dust). Exploring and elucidating the emissions and atmospheric consequences of the snow-sourced reactive species require a global or regional model with a snow module. Here, we parameterized atmospheric nitrate deposition and its distributions in snow using a regional chemical transport model, i.e., the WRF-Chem (the Weather Research and Forecasting Model coupled with Chemistry) model, and evaluated the performance of the WRF-Chem model in simulating snow cover, snow depth, and BC, dust and nitrate concentrations with field observations in northern China which is one of the regions with dense and prolong snow cover. The model reasonably reproduces the observed snow cover and depth in northeastern and northwestern China, and the observed snow dust and nitrate concentrations are also reasonably reproduced. These results illustrate the ability of WRF-Chem in simulating snow properties including concentrations of reservoir species in northern China, and in the future, we will incorporate snow nitrate photolysis in the model, exploring the emissions of snow NOx from nitrate photolysis and the impacts on local to regional atmospheric chemistry and air pollutant transformations.

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Xia Wang, Tao Che, Xueyin Ruan, Shanna Yue, Jing Wang, Chun Zhao, and Lei Geng

Status: open (until 19 Jul 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
Xia Wang, Tao Che, Xueyin Ruan, Shanna Yue, Jing Wang, Chun Zhao, and Lei Geng

Model code and software

xwang/wrfchem_ustc3.5: wrfchem_ustc 3.5 including nitrate concentrations in snow Xia Wang et al.

Xia Wang, Tao Che, Xueyin Ruan, Shanna Yue, Jing Wang, Chun Zhao, and Lei Geng


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Short summary
We employed the WRF-Chem model to parameterize atmospheric nitrate deposition in snow and evaluated its performance in simulating snow cover, snow depth, and concentrations of black carbon (BC), dust, and nitrate using new observations from Northern China. The results generally exhibit reasonable agreement with field observations in northern China, demonstrating the model's capability to simulate snow properties, including concentrations of reservoir species.