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Evaluation of regional climate simulations for air quality modelling purposes

Abstract

In order to evaluate the future potential benefits of emission regulation on regional air quality, while taking into account the effects of climate change, off-line air quality projection simulations are driven using weather forcing taken from regional climate models. These regional models are themselves driven by simulations carried out using global climate models (GCM) and economical scenarios. Uncertainties and biases in climate models introduce an additional “climate modeling” source of uncertainty that is to be added to all other types of uncertainties in air quality modeling for policy evaluation. In this article we evaluate the changes in air quality-related weather variables induced by replacing reanalyses-forced by GCM-forced regional climate simulations. As an example we use GCM simulations carried out in the framework of the ERA-interim programme and of the CMIP5 project using the Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace climate model (IPSLcm), driving regional simulations performed in the framework of the EURO-CORDEX programme. In summer, we found compensating deficiencies acting on photochemistry: an overestimation by GCM-driven weather due to a positive bias in short-wave radiation, a negative bias in wind speed, too many stagnant episodes, and a negative temperature bias. In winter, air quality is mostly driven by dispersion, and we could not identify significant differences in either wind or planetary boundary layer height statistics between GCM-driven and reanalyses-driven regional simulations. However, precipitation appears largely overestimated in GCM-driven simulations, which could significantly affect the simulation of aerosol concentrations. The identification of these biases will help interpreting results of future air quality simulations using these data. Despite these, we conclude that the identified differences should not lead to major difficulties in using GCM-driven regional climate simulations for air quality projections.

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Acknowledgments

This study is carried out in the framework of the COordinated Regional Downscaling EXperiment (CORDEX). The evaluation is also part of the French National project SALUTAIR whose aim is to provide future regional air quality scenario simulations, in the framework of the PRIMEQUAL program. All simulations were done on the CEA CCRT computers.

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Correspondence to Laurent Menut.

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This paper is a contribution to the special issue on the IPSL and CNRM global climate and Earth System Models, both developed in France and contributing to the 5th coupled model intercomparison project.

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Menut, L., Tripathi, O.P., Colette, A. et al. Evaluation of regional climate simulations for air quality modelling purposes. Clim Dyn 40, 2515–2533 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-012-1345-9

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Regional modelling
  • Air quality