Photochemical box modelling was undertaken to investigate OH and HO2 radical chemistry during summer and winter field campaigns in the urban city-centre of Birmingham in the UK. The model employed the most recent version of the Master Chemical Mechanism (v3.1) and was constrained to 15-minute average measurements of long-lived species determined in situ at the site. The model was used to predict OH and HO2 concentrations for comparison with measurements made by the fluorescence assay by gas expansion technique. Whilst there was generally good agreement between the modelled and measured OH concentrations, particularly during summer, there was sometimes a significant model under-prediction during daylight hours, which significantly skews the overall model: measured agreement. There were less measured data available for HO2, but the agreement between model and measurement for the days where measurements existed were less good than for OH, with one or two exceptions. The modelled:measured ratios between the hours of 11:00–15:00 h for OH were 0.58 and 0.50 for summer and winter respectively. For HO2, the same ratios were 0.56 in the summer and 0.49 in the winter. Sensitivity studies were conducted to attempt to understand the model-measurement discrepancy. The predicted radical concentrations were particularly sensitive to changes in NO X concentrations. Constraining the model to the observed HO2 concentrations made the OH predictions worse. These results highlight the fact that there are many complexities in urban areas and that more highly-instrumented campaigns are required in the future to further our understanding.
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Emmerson, K.M., Carslaw, N., Carpenter, L.J. et al. Urban Atmospheric Chemistry During the PUMA Campaign 1: Comparison of Modelled OH and HO2 Concentrations with Measurements. J Atmos Chem 52, 143–164 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10874-005-1322-3