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Feedbacks between Air Pollution and Weather, Part 1: Effects on Chemistry

pubblicazioni - Articolo

Feedbacks between Air Pollution and Weather, Part 1: Effects on Chemistry

State of art atmospheric models include a novel approach that integrate the interaction between chemical and physical processes, the so called feedback effects. This allows a more accurate analysis of the role of anthropogenic sources, including energy sector. Here the results of the influence of feedback effects on air quality are investigated.

The meteorological predictions of fully coupled air-quality models running in “feedback” versus “nofeedback”simulations were compared against each other and observations as part of Phase 2 of the Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative. In the “no-feedback” mode, the aerosol direct and indirect effects were disabled, with the models reverting to either climatologies of aerosol properties, or a no-aerosol weather simulation. In the “feedback” mode, the model-generated aerosols were allowed to modify the radiative transfer and/or cloud formation parameterizations of the respective models.

Annual simulations with and without feedbacks were conducted on domains over North America for the years 2006 and 2010, and over Europe for the year 2010. The incorporation of feedbacks was found to result in systematic changes to forecast predictions of meteorological variables, both in time and space, with the largest impacts occurring in the summer and near large sources of pollution. Models incorporating only the aerosol direct effect predicted feedbackinduced reductions in temperature, surface downward and upward shortwave radiation, precipitation and PBL height, and increased upward shortwave radiation, in both Europe and North America.

The feedback response of models incorporating both the aerosol direct and indirect effects varied across models, suggesting the details of implementation of the indirect effect have a large impact on model results, and hence should be a focus for future research. The feedback response of models incorporating both direct and indirect effects was also consistently larger in magnitude to that of models incorporating the direct effect alone, implying that the indirect effect may be the dominant process.

Comparisons across modelling platforms suggested that direct and indirect effect feedbacks may often act in competition: the sign of residual changes associated with feedbacks often changed between those models incorporating the direct effect alone versus those incorporating both feedback processes.Model comparisons to observations for no-feedback and feedback implementations of the same model showed that differences in performance between models were larger than the performance changes associated with implementing feedbacks within a given model.

However, feedback implementation was shown to result in improved forecasts of meteorological parameters such as the 2 m surface temperature and precipitation. These findings suggest that meteorological forecasts may be improved through the useof fully coupled feedback models, or through incorporation of improved climatologies of aerosol properties, the latter designed to include spatial, temporal and aerosol size and/or speciation variations.

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