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Sources of Particulate Matter in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia
Open AccessArticle

Evaluation of Regional Air Quality Models over Sydney, Australia: Part 2, Comparison of PM2.5 and Ozone

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Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
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School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences (SEALS), University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
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Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Oceans and Atmosphere, Aspendale, VIC 3195, Australia
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New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Lidcombe, Sydney, NSW 2141, Australia
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School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VIC 3085, Australia
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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University (NU), Boston, MA 02115, USA
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Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2020, 11(3), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11030233
Received: 6 February 2020 / Revised: 23 February 2020 / Accepted: 24 February 2020 / Published: 28 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in New South Wales, Australia)
Accurate air quality modelling is an essential tool, both for strategic assessment (regulation development for emission controls) and for short-term forecasting (enabling warnings to be issued to protect vulnerable members of society when the pollution levels are predicted to be high). Model intercomparison studies are a valuable support to this work, being useful for identifying any issues with air quality models, and benchmarking their performance against international standards, thereby increasing confidence in their predictions. This paper presents the results of a comparison study of six chemical transport models which have been used to simulate short-term hourly to 24 hourly concentrations of fine particulate matter less than and equal to 2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3) for Sydney, Australia. Model performance was evaluated by comparison to air quality measurements made at 16 locations for O3 and 5 locations for PM2.5, during three time periods that coincided with major atmospheric composition measurement campaigns in the region. These major campaigns included daytime measurements of PM2.5 composition, and so model performance for particulate sulfate (SO42−), nitrate (NO3), ammonium (NH4+) and elemental carbon (EC) was evaluated at one site per modelling period. Domain-wide performance of the models for hourly O3 was good, with models meeting benchmark criteria and reproducing the observed O3 production regime (based on the O3/NOx indicator) at 80% or more of the sites. Nevertheless, model performance was worse at high (and low) O3 percentiles. Domain-wide model performance for 24 h average PM2.5 was more variable, with a general tendency for the models to under-predict PM2.5 concentrations during the summer and over-predict PM2.5 concentrations in the autumn. The modelling intercomparison exercise has led to improvements in the implementation of these models for Sydney and has increased confidence in their skill at reproducing observed atmospheric composition. View Full-Text
Keywords: air quality modelling; model evaluation; PM2.5; O3 air quality modelling; model evaluation; PM2.5; O3
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Guérette, E.-A.; Chang, L. .-C.; Cope, M.E.; Duc, H.N.; Emmerson, K.M.; Monk, K.; Rayner, P.J.; Scorgie, Y.; Silver, J.D.; Simmons, J.; Trieu, T.; Utembe, S.R.; Zhang, Y.; Paton-Walsh, C. Evaluation of Regional Air Quality Models over Sydney, Australia: Part 2, Comparison of PM2.5 and Ozone. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 233.

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