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Impacts of Air-sea Interactions on Regional Air Quality Predictions Using a Coupled Atmosphere-ocean Model in Southeastern U.S.

Category: Air Pollution Modeling

Volume: 18 | Issue: 4 | Pages: 1044-1067
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2016.12.0570
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Jian He, Ruoying He, Yang Zhang

  • Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA


A coupled atmosphere-ocean model, WRF/Chem-ROMS, is developed and evaluated.
WRF/Chem-ROMS with air-sea interactions gives better predictions than WRF/Chem.
Coupled atmosphere-ocean model improves regional air quality simulations.


Air-sea interactions have significant impacts on coastal convection and surface fluxes exchange. They are important for the spatial and vertical distributions of air pollutants that affect public health, particularly in densely populated coastal areas. To understand the impacts of air-sea interactions on coastal air quality predictions, sensitivity simulations with different atmosphere-ocean coupling are conducted in this work over southeastern U.S. in July 2010 using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model with Chemistry (WRF/Chem). The results show that comparing to WRF/Chem without air-sea interactions, WRF/Chem with a 1-D ocean mixed layer model (WRF/Chem-OML) and WRF/Chem coupled with a 3-D Regional Ocean Modeling System (WRF/Chem-ROMS) predict the domain averaged changes in the sea surface temperature of 0.06°C and 0.94°C, respectively for July average. The simulated differences in the surface concentrations of O3 and PM2.5 between WRF/Chem-ROMS and WRF/Chem can be as large as 17.3 ppb and 7.9 µg m–3, respectively, with the largest changes occurring not only along coast and remote ocean, but also over some inland areas. Extensive validations against observations show that WRF/Chem-ROMS improves the predictions of most cloud and radiative variables, and surface concentrations of some chemical species such as SO2, NO2, maximum 1-h and 8-h O3, SO42–, NH4+, NO3, and PM10. This illustrates the benefits and needs of using coupled atmosphere-ocean model with advanced model representations of air-sea interactions for regional air quality modeling.


O3 PM2.5 Air-sea interaction WRF/Chem ROMS COAWST Coupled atmosphere-ocean model

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