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  • Author or Editor: Kenneth E. Pickering x
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Christopher P. Loughner, Dale J. Allen, Da-Lin Zhang, Kenneth E. Pickering, Russell R. Dickerson, and Laura Landry

Abstract

Urban heat island (UHI) effects can strengthen heat waves and air pollution episodes. In this study, the dampening impact of urban trees on the UHI during an extreme heat wave in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, metropolitan area is examined by incorporating trees, soil, and grass into the coupled Weather Research and Forecasting model and an urban canopy model (WRF-UCM). By parameterizing the effects of these natural surfaces alongside roadways and buildings, the modified WRF-UCM is used to investigate how urban trees, soil, and grass dampen the UHI. The modified model was run with 50% tree cover over urban roads and a 10% decrease in the width of urban streets to make space for soil and grass alongside the roads and buildings. Results show that, averaged over all urban areas, the added vegetation decreases surface air temperature in urban street canyons by 4.1 K and road-surface and building-wall temperatures by 15.4 and 8.9 K, respectively, as a result of tree shading and evapotranspiration. These temperature changes propagate downwind and alter the temperature gradient associated with the Chesapeake Bay breeze and, therefore, alter the strength of the bay breeze. The impact of building height on the UHI shows that decreasing commercial building heights by 8 m and residential building heights by 2.5 m results in up to 0.4-K higher daytime surface and near-surface air temperatures because of less building shading and up to 1.2-K lower nighttime temperatures because of less longwave radiative trapping in urban street canyons.

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Christopher P. Loughner, Maria Tzortziou, Melanie Follette-Cook, Kenneth E. Pickering, Daniel Goldberg, Chinmay Satam, Andrew Weinheimer, James H. Crawford, David J. Knapp, Denise D. Montzka, Glenn S. Diskin, and Russell R. Dickerson

Abstract

Meteorological and air-quality model simulations are analyzed alongside observations to investigate the role of the Chesapeake Bay breeze on surface air quality, pollutant transport, and boundary layer venting. A case study was conducted to understand why a particular day was the only one during an 11-day ship-based field campaign on which surface ozone was not elevated in concentration over the Chesapeake Bay relative to the closest upwind site and why high ozone concentrations were observed aloft by in situ aircraft observations. Results show that southerly winds during the overnight and early-morning hours prevented the advection of air pollutants from the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, metropolitan areas over the surface waters of the bay. A strong and prolonged bay breeze developed during the late morning and early afternoon along the western coastline of the bay. The strength and duration of the bay breeze allowed pollutants to converge, resulting in high concentrations locally near the bay-breeze front within the Baltimore metropolitan area, where they were then lofted to the top of the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Near the top of the PBL, these pollutants were horizontally advected to a region with lower PBL heights, resulting in pollution transport out of the boundary layer and into the free troposphere. This elevated layer of air pollution aloft was transported downwind into New England by early the following morning where it likely mixed down to the surface, affecting air quality as the boundary layer grew.

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