Evaluation of Urban Air Quality Models for Regulatory Use: Refinement of an Approach

Mary W. Downton Environmental and Societal Impacts Group, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307

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Robin L. Dennis Environmental and Societal Impacts Group, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307

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Abstract

Statistical measures for evaluating the performance of urban air quality models have recently been strongly recommended by several investigators. Problems that were encountered in the use of recommended performance measures in an evaluation of three versions of an urban photochemical model are described. The example demonstrates the importance of designing an evaluation to take into account the way in which the model will be used in regulatory practice, and then choosing performance measures on the basis of that design. The evaluation illustrates some limitations and possible pitfalls in the use and interpretation of statistical measures of model performance. Drawing on this experience, a procedure for evaluation of air quality models for regulatory use is suggested.

Abstract

Statistical measures for evaluating the performance of urban air quality models have recently been strongly recommended by several investigators. Problems that were encountered in the use of recommended performance measures in an evaluation of three versions of an urban photochemical model are described. The example demonstrates the importance of designing an evaluation to take into account the way in which the model will be used in regulatory practice, and then choosing performance measures on the basis of that design. The evaluation illustrates some limitations and possible pitfalls in the use and interpretation of statistical measures of model performance. Drawing on this experience, a procedure for evaluation of air quality models for regulatory use is suggested.

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