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Volume 16, No. 3, March 2016, Pages 909-917 PDF(829 KB)  Supplementary MaterialPDFPDF (268 KB)
doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.0342   

Evaluation of Aerosol Chemical Composition Simulations by the WRF-Chem Model at the Puy de Dôme Station (France)

Christelle Barbet1,2, Laurent Deguillaume1,2, Nadine Chaumerliac1,2, Maud Leriche3,4, Evelyn Freney1,2, Aurélie Colomb1,2, Karine Sellegri1,2, Luc Patryl5, Patrick Armand5

1 Université Clermont Auvergne, Université Blaise Pascal, OPGC, Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, 4 av. Blaise Pascal TSA 60026 CS 60026 63178 Aubière Cedex, France
2 CNRS, LaMP/OPGC, UMR6016, 4 av. Blaise Pascal TSA 60026 CS 60026 63178 Aubière Cedex, France
3 Université de Toulouse, UPS, Laboratoire d’Aérologie, 14 avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
4 CNRS, LA, UMR5560, 31400 Toulouse, France
5 CEA, DAM, DIF, F-91297 Arpajon, France


  • Unexpected high concentrations of OA in summer 2010 at the puy de Dôme station.
  • Capability of WRF-Chem model vs. REMOTE model to retrieve high SOA formation episode over a mountain site.
  • Diurnal cycle of SOA formation sensitive to oxidation processes of organic compounds.



The high altitude Puy de Dôme (PUY) research station, located at 1465 m a.s.l. in central France, hosts many instruments allowing continuous measurements and intensive campaigns to measure meteorological parameters, gas-phase species, aerosol and cloud properties. Aerosol chemical composition measurements provided by a compact Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (cToF-AMS) are used to evaluate the WRF-Chem model and more precisely its ability to simulate organic aerosol (OA) for a particular event in summer 2010. Using the Volatility Basis Set approach (VBS), dedicated to the formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA), the WRF-Chem model strongly underestimates the high concentration levels of OA observed at the PUY station: 12.5 µg m–3 were observed and only 2.6 µg m–3 were simulated. By means of several measurements of gas-phase volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the robustness of both emissions and SOA formation processes in the WRF-Chem model was tested. The underestimation of the OA mass concentration appears to be mainly due to a misrepresentation of the oxidation rate of the organic condensable vapours (OCVs) and the SOA yields of both anthropogenic and biogenic VOCs in the VBS parameterization.



Keywords: Organic aerosol; Chemistry/Transport model; Emission inventory; Secondary Organic Aerosol (SOA) formation.



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