Influence of anthropogenic emissions and boundary conditions on multi-model simulations of major air pollutants over Europe and North America in the framework of AQMEII3


In the framework of the third phase of the Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative (AQMEII3), and as contribution to the second phase of the Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution (HTAP2) activities for Europe and North America, the impacts of a 20 % decrease of global and regional anthropogenic emissions on surface air pollutant levels in 2010 are simulated by an international community of regional-scale air quality modeling groups, using different state-of-the-art chemistry and transport models (CTMs). The emission perturbations at the global level, as well as over the HTAP2-defined regions of Europe, North America and East Asia, are first simulated by the global Composition Integrated Forecasting System (C-IFS) model from European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), which provides boundary conditions to the various regional CTMs participating in AQMEII3. On top of the perturbed boundary conditions, the regional CTMs used the same set of perturbed emissions within the regional domain for the different perturbation scenarios that introduce a 20 % reduction of anthropogenic emissions globally as well as over the HTAP2-defined regions of Europe, North America and East Asia. Results show that the largest impacts over both domains are simulated in response to the global emission perturbation, mainly due to the impact of domestic emission reductions. The responses of NO2, SO2 and PM concentrations to a 20 % anthropogenic emission reduction are almost linear (∼ 20 % decrease) within the global perturbation scenario with, however, large differences in the geographical distribution of the effect. NO2, CO and SO2 levels are strongly affected over the emission hot spots. O3 levels generally decrease in all scenarios by up to ∼ 1 % over Europe, with increases over the hot spot regions, in particular in the Benelux region, by an increase up to ∼ 6 % due to the reduced effect of NOx titration. O3 daily maximum of 8 h running average decreases in all scenarios over Europe, by up to ∼ 1 %. Over the North American domain, the central-to-eastern part and the western coast of the US experience the largest response to emission perturbations. Similar but slightly smaller responses are found when domestic emissions are reduced. The impact of intercontinental transport is relatively small over both domains, however, still noticeable particularly close to the boundaries. The impact is noticeable up to a few percent, for the western parts of the North American domain in response to the emission reductions over East Asia. O3 daily maximum of 8 h running average decreases in all scenarios over north Europe by up to ∼ 5 %. Much larger reductions are calculated over North America compared to Europe. In addition, values of the Response to Extra-Regional Emission Reductions (RERER) metric have been calculated in order to quantify the differences in the strengths of non-local source contributions to different species among the different models. We found large RERER values for O3 (∼ 0.8) over both Europe and North America, indicating a large contribution from non-local sources, while for other pollutants including particles, low RERER values reflect a predominant control by local sources. A distinct seasonal variation in the local vs. non-local contributions has been found for both O3 and PM2.5, particularly reflecting the springtime long-range transport to both continents.
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