Are contributions of emissions to ozone a matter of scale? - a study using MECO(n) (MESSy v2.50)

Mariano Mertens*, Astrid Kerkweg, Volker Grewe, Patrick Jöckel, Robert Sausen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Anthropogenic and natural emissions influence the tropospheric ozone budget, thereby affecting air quality and climate. To study the influence of different emission sources on the ozone budget, often source apportionment studies with a tagged tracer approach are performed. Studies investigating air quality issues usually rely on regional models with a fine spatial resolution, while studies focusing on climaterelated questions often use coarsely resolved global models. It is well known that simulated ozone mixing ratios depend on the resolution of the model and the resolution of the emission inventory. Whether the contributions simulated using source apportionment approaches also depend on the model resolution, however, is still unclear. Therefore, this study attempts for the first time to analyse the impact of the model, the model resolution, and the emission inventory resolution on simulated ozone contributions using a diagnostic tagging method. The differences in the ozone contributions caused by these factors are compared with differences that arise from the usage of different emission inventories. To do so, we apply the MECO(n) (MESSy-fied ECHAM and COSMO models nested n times) model system which couples online a global chemistry-climate model with a regional chemistry-climate model equipped with a tagging scheme for source apportionment. The results of the global model (at 300 km horizontal resolution) are compared with the results of the regional model at 50 km (Europe) and 12 km (Germany) resolutions. Besides model-specific differences and biases that are discussed in detail, our results have important implications for other modelling studies and modellers applying source apportionment methods. First, contributions from anthropogenic emissions averaged over the continental scale are quite robust with respect to the model, model resolution, and emission inventory resolution. Second, differences on the regional scale caused by different models and model resolutions can be quite large, and regional models are indispensable for source apportionment studies on the subcontinental scale. Third, contributions from stratospheric ozone transported to the surface differ strongly between the models, mainly caused by differences in the efficiency of the vertical mixing. As stratospheric ozone plays an important role for ground level ozone, but the models show large differences in the amount of downward transported ozone, source apportionment methods should account for this source explicitly to better understand inter-model differences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number363-2020
Pages (from-to)363-383
Number of pages21
JournalGeoscientific Model Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2020

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