Toward Improving Short-Term Predictions of Fine Particulate Matter Over the United States Via Assimilation of Satellite Aerosol Optical Depth Retrievals

Citation:

Kumar R, Delle Monache L, Bresch J, Saide PE, Tang Y, Liu Z, da Silva AM, Alessandrini S, Pfister G, Edwards D, et al. Toward Improving Short-Term Predictions of Fine Particulate Matter Over the United States Via Assimilation of Satellite Aerosol Optical Depth Retrievals. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres [Internet]. 2019;124 (5) :2753-2773.

Abstract:

Abstract This study develops a new approach to improve simulations of the particulate matter of aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) in the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model via assimilation of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrievals using the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) system. In contrast to previous studies that only consider errors due to transport, our computation of the background error covariance matrix incorporates uncertainties in anthropogenic emissions. To understand the impact of this approach, three experiments (one background and two assimilations) are performed over the contiguous United States (CONUS) from 15 July to 14 August 2014. The background CMAQ experiment significantly underestimates both the MODIS AOD and surface PM2.5 levels. MODIS AOD assimilation pushes both the CMAQ AOD and surface PM2.5 distributions toward the observed distributions, but CMAQ still underestimates the observations. Averaged over CONUS, the two assimilation experiments with and without including the anthropogenic emission uncertainties improve the correlation coefficient between the model and independent observations of PM2.5 by  67% and  48%, respectively, and reduces the mean bias by  38% and  10%, respectively. The assimilation improves the model performance everywhere over CONUS, except the New York and Wisconsin, where CMAQ overestimates the observed PM2.5 during nighttime after assimilation likely because of overcorrection of aerosol mass concentrations by the AOD assimilation. Future work should incorporate uncertainties in other processes (biomass burning and biogenic emissions, deposition, chemistry, transport, and boundary conditions) to further enhance the value of assimilating spaceborne AOD retrievals.

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