EPA Science Inventory

Evaluation of Simulated Photochemical Partitioning of Oxidized Nitrogen in the Upper Troposphere

Citation:

Henderson, B. H., R. W. PINDER, J. L. CROOKS, R. COHEN, W. T. HUTZELL, G. SARWAR, W. S. Goliff, W. R. Stockwell, A. Fahr, R. MATHUR, A. G. CARLTON, AND W. Vizuete. Evaluation of Simulated Photochemical Partitioning of Oxidized Nitrogen in the Upper Troposphere. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Copernicus Publications, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, 11(1):275-291, (2011).

Description:

Regional and global chemical transport models underpredict NOx (NO +NO2) in the upper troposphere where it is a precursor to the greenhouse gas ozone. The NOx bias has been shown in model evaluations using aircraft data (Singh et al., 2007) and total column NO2 (molecules cm−2) from satellite observations (Napelenok et al., 2008). The causes of NOx underpredictions have yet to be fully understood due to the interconnected nature of simulated emission, transport, and chemistry processes. Recent observation based studies, in the upper troposphere, identify chemical rate coefficients as a potential source of error (Olson et al., 2006; Ren et al., 2008). Since typical chemistry evaluation techniques are not available for upper tropospheric conditions, this study develops an evaluation platform from in situ observations, stochastic convection, and deterministic chemistry. We derive a stochastic convection model and optimize it using two simulated datasets of time since convection, one based on meteorology, and the other on chemistry. The chemistry surrogate for time since convection is calculated using seven different chemical mechanisms, all of which predict shorter time since convection than our meteorological analysis. We evaluate chemical simulations by inter-comparison and by pairing results with observations based on NOx:HNO3, a photochemical aging indicator. Inter-comparison reveals individual chemical mechanism biases and recommended updates. Evaluation against observations shows that all chemical mechanisms overpredict NOx removal relative to long-lived methanol and carbon monoxide. All chemical mechanisms underpredict observed NOx by at least 30%, and further evaluation is necessary to refine simulation sensitivities to initial conditions and chemical rate uncertainties.

Purpose/Objective:

The National Exposure Research Laboratory′s (NERL′s) Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Division (AMAD) conducts research in support of EPA′s mission to protect human health and the environment. AMAD′s research program is engaged in developing and evaluating predictive atmospheric models on all spatial and temporal scales for forecasting the Nation′s air quality and for assessing changes in air quality and air pollutant exposures, as affected by changes in ecosystem management and regulatory decisions. AMAD is responsible for providing a sound scientific and technical basis for regulatory policies based on air quality models to improve ambient air quality. The models developed by AMAD are being used by EPA, NOAA, and the air pollution community in understanding and forecasting not only the magnitude of the air pollution problem, but also in developing emission control policies and regulations for air quality improvements.

URLs/Downloads:

Evaluation of Simulated Photochemical Partitioning of Oxidized Nitrogen in the Upper Troposphere   (PDF,NA pp, 1305 KB,  about PDF)

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 01/14/2011
Completion Date: 01/14/2011
Record Last Revised: 12/30/2011
Record Created: 08/11/2010
Record Released: 08/11/2010
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 227243

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB

ATMOSPHERIC MODELING AND ANALYSIS DIVISION

APPLIED MODELING BRANCH