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Ho-Chun Huang, Xin-Zhong Liang, Kenneth E. Kunkel, Michael Caughey, and Allen Williams


The impacts of air pollution on the environment and human health could increase as a result of potential climate change. To assess such possible changes, model simulations of pollutant concentrations need to be performed at climatic (seasonal) rather than episodic (days) time scales, using future climate projections from a general circulation model. Such a modeling system was employed here, consisting of a regional climate model (RCM), an emissions model, and an air quality model. To assess overall model performance with one-way coupling, this system was used to simulate tropospheric ozone concentrations in the midwestern and northeastern United States for summer seasons between 1995 and 2000. The RCM meteorological conditions were driven by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/Department of Energy global reanalysis (R-2) using the same procedure that integrates future climate model projections. Based on analyses for several urban and rural areas and regional domains, fairly good agreement with observations was found for the diurnal cycle and for several multiday periods of high ozone episodes. Even better agreement occurred between monthly and seasonal mean quantities of observed and model-simulated values. This is consistent with an RCM designed primarily to produce good simulations of monthly and seasonal mean statistics of weather systems.

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Daiwen Kang, Rohit Mathur, Kenneth Schere, Shaocai Yu, and Brian Eder


Traditional categorical metrics used in model evaluations are “clear cut” measures in that the model’s ability to predict an “exceedance” is defined by a fixed threshold concentration and the metrics are defined by observation–forecast sets that are paired both in space and time. These metrics are informative but limited in evaluating the performance of air quality forecast (AQF) systems because AQF generally examines exceedances on a regional scale rather than a single monitor. New categorical metrics—the weighted success index (WSI), area hit (aH), and area false-alarm ratio (aFAR)—are developed. In the calculation of WSI, credits are given to the observation–forecast pairs within the observed exceedance region (missed forecast) or the forecast exceedance region (false alarm), depending on the distance of the points from the central line (perfect observation–forecast match line or 1:1 line on scatterplot). The aH and aFAR are defined by matching observed and forecast exceedances within an area (i.e., model grid cells) surrounding the observation location. The concept of aH and aFAR resembles the manner in which forecasts are usually issued. In practice, a warning is issued for a region of interest, such as a metropolitan area, if an exceedance is forecast to occur anywhere within the region. The application of these new categorical metrics, which are supplemental to the traditional counterparts (critical success index, hit rate, and false-alarm ratio), to the Eta Model–Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) forecast system has demonstrated further insight into evaluating the forecasting capability of the system (e.g., the new metrics can provide information about how the AQF system captures the spatial variations of pollutant concentrations).

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