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M. Talat Odman, Yongtao Hu, Alper Unal, Armistead G. Russell, and James W. Boylan

Abstract

A detailed sensitivity analysis was conducted to help to quantify the impacts of various emission control options in terms of potential visibility improvements at class I national parks and wilderness areas in the southeastern United States. Particulate matter (PM) levels were estimated using the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model, and light extinctions were calculated using the modeled PM concentrations. First, likely changes in visibility at class I areas were estimated for 2018. Then, using emission projections for 2018 as a starting point, the sensitivity of light extinction was evaluated by reducing emissions from various source categories by 30%. Source categories to be analyzed were determined using a tiered approach: any category that showed significant impact in one tier was broken into subcategories for further analysis in the next tier. In the first tier, sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides, ammonia, volatile organic compound, and primary carbon emissions were reduced uniformly over the entire domain. During summer, when most class I areas experience their worst visibility, reduction of SO2 emissions was the most effective control strategy. In the second tier, SO2 sources were separated as ground level and elevated. The elevated sources in 10 southeastern states were differentiated from those in the rest of the domain and broken into three subcategories: coal-fired power plant (CPP), other power plant, and other than power plant [i.e., non–electric generating unit (non EGU)]. The SO2 emissions from the CPP subcategory had the largest impact on visibility at class I areas, followed by the non-EGU subcategory. In the third tier, emissions from these two subcategories were further broken down by state. Most class I areas were affected by the emissions from several states, indicating the regional nature of the haze problem. Here, the visibility responses to all of the aforementioned emission reductions are quantified and deviations from general trends are identified.

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M. Talat Odman, Andrew T. White, Kevin Doty, Richard T. McNider, Arastoo Pour-Biazar, Momei Qin, Yongtao Hu, Eladio Knipping, Y. Wu, and Bright Dornblaser

Abstract

High levels of ozone have been observed along the shores of Lake Michigan for the last 40 years. Models continue to struggle in their ability to replicate ozone behavior in the region. In the retrospective way in which models are used in air quality regulation development, nudging or four-dimensional data assimilation (FDDA) of the large-scale environment is important for constraining model forecast errors. Here, paths for incorporating large-scale meteorological conditions but retaining model mesoscale structure are evaluated. For the July 2011 case studied here, iterative FDDA strategies did not improve mesoscale performance in the Great Lakes region in terms of diurnal trends or monthly averaged statistics, with overestimations of nighttime wind speed remaining as an issue. Two vertical nudging strategies were evaluated for their effects on the development of nocturnal low-level jets (LLJ) and their impacts on air quality simulations. Nudging only above the planetary boundary layer, which has been a standard option in many air quality simulations, significantly dampened the amplitude of LLJ relative to nudging only above a height of 2 km. While the LLJ was preserved with nudging only above 2 km, there was some deterioration in wind performance when compared with profiler networks above the jet between 500 m and 2 km. In examining the impact of nudging strategies on air quality performance of the Community Multiscale Air Quality model, it was found that performance was improved for the case of nudging above 2 km. This result may reflect the importance of the LLJ in transport or perhaps a change in mixing in the models.

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