Evaluation of global EMEP MSC-W (rv4.34)-WRF (v3.9.1.1) model surface concentrations and wet deposition of reactive N and S with measurements

Yao Ge, Mathew R. Heal, David S. Stevenson, Peter Wind, Massimo Vieno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Atmospheric pollution has many profound effects on human health, ecosystems, and the climate. Of concern are high concentrations and deposition of reactive nitrogen (Nr) species, especially of reduced N (gaseous NH3, particulate NH4+). Atmospheric chemistry and transport models (ACTMs) are crucial to understanding sources and impacts of Nr chemistry and its potential mitigation. Here we undertake the first evaluation of the global version of the EMEP MSC-W ACTM driven by WRF meteorology (1º×1º resolution), with a focus on surface concentrations and wet deposition of N and S species relevant to investigation of atmospheric Nr and secondary inorganic aerosol (SIA). The model-measurement comparison is conducted both spatially and temporally, covering 10 monitoring networks worldwide. Model simulations for 2010 compared use of both HTAP and ECLIPSEE (ECLIPSE annual total with EDGAR monthly profile) emissions inventories; those for 2015 used ECLIPSEE only. Simulations of primary pollutants are somewhat sensitive to the choice of inventory in places where regional differences in primary emissions between the two inventories are apparent (e.g. China), but much less so for secondary components. For example, the difference in modelled global annual mean surface NH3 concentration using the two 2010 inventories is 18% (HTAP: 0.26 ug m-3; ECLIPSEE: 0.31 ug m-3) but only 3.5% for NH4+ (HTAP: 0.316 ug m-3; ECLIPSEE: 0.305 ug m-3). Comparisons of 2010 and 2015 surface concentrations between model and measurement demonstrate that the model captures well the overall spatial and seasonal variations of the major inorganic pollutants NH3, NO2, SO2, HNO3, NH4+, NO3-, SO42- , and their wet deposition in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. The model shows better correlations with annual average measurements for networks in Southeast Asia (Mean R for 7 species: (R_7 = 0.73), Europe (R_7 = 0.67) and North America (R_7 = 0.63) than in East Asia (R_5 = 0.35) (data for 2015), which suggests potential issues with the measurements in the latter network. Temporally, both model and measurement agree on higher NH3 concentrations in spring and summer, and lower concentrations in winter. The model slightly underestimates annual total precipitation measurements (by 13-34%) but agrees well with the spatial variations in precipitation in all four world regions (0.65-0.94 R range). High correlations between measured and modelled NH4+ precipitation concentrations are also observed in all regions except East Asia. For annual total wet deposition of reduced N, the greatest consistency is in North America (0.75-0.82 R range), followed by Southeast Asia (R = 0.68) and Europe (R = 0.61). Model-measurement bias varies between species in different networks; for example, bias for NH4+ and NO3- is most in Europe and North America and least in East and Southeast Asia. The greater uniformity in spatial correlations than in biases suggests that the major driver of model-measurement discrepancies (aside from differing spatial representativeness and uncertainties and biases in measurements) are shortcomings in absolute emissions rather than in modelling the atmospheric processes. The comprehensive evaluations presented in this study support the application of this model framework for global analysis of current and potential future budgets and deposition of Nr and SIA.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbergmd-14-7021-2021
Pages (from-to)7021-7046
Number of pages26
JournalGeoscientific Model Development
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • atmospheric modelling
  • atmospheric composition
  • Air quality modelling
  • air pollution
  • Secondary inorganic aerosol
  • monitoring network
  • ammonium nitrate


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