The impact of climate change on air quality-related meteorological conditions in california. Part I: Present time simulation analysis

Citation:
Zhao, Z, Chen SH, Kleeman MJ, Tyree M, Cayan D.  2011.  The impact of climate change on air quality-related meteorological conditions in california. Part I: Present time simulation analysis. Journal of Climate. 24:3344-3361.

Date Published:

Jul

Keywords:

boundary-layer, circulation, model output, parameterization, precipitation, system, valley, western united-states

Abstract:

This study investigates the impacts of climate change on meteorology and air quality conditions in California by dynamically downscaling Parallel Climate Model (PCM) data to high resolution (4 km) using the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model. This paper evaluates the present years' (2000-06) downscaling results driven by either PCM or National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Global Forecasting System (GFS) reanalysis data. The analyses focused on the air quality-related meteorological variables, such as planetary boundary layer height (PBLH), surface temperature, and wind. The differences of the climatology from the two sets of downscaling simulations and the driving global datasets were compared, which illustrated that most of the biases of the downscaling results were inherited from the driving global climate model (GCM). The downscaling process added mesoscale features but also introduced extra biases into the driving global data. The main source of bias in the PCM data is an imprecise prediction of the location and strength of the Pacific subtropical high (PSH). The analysis implied that using simulation results driven by PCM data as the input for air quality models will likely underestimate air pollution problems in California. Regional-averaged statistics of the downscaling results were estimated for two highly polluted areas, the South Coast Air Basin (SoCAB) and the San Joaquin Valley (SJV), by comparing to observations. The simulations driven by GFS data overestimated surface temperature and wind speed for most of the year, indicating that WRF has systematic errors in these two regions. The simulation matched the observations better during summer than winter in terms of bias. WRF has difficulty reproducing weak surface wind, which normally happens during stagnation events in these two regions. The shallow summer PBLH in the Central Valley is caused by the dominance of high pressure systems over the valley and the strong valley wind during summer. The change of meteorology and air quality in California due to climate change will be explored in Part II of this study, which compares the future (2047-53) and present (2000-06) simulation results driven by PCM data and is presented in a separate paper.

Notes:

n/a

Website

DOI:

10.1175/2011jcli3849.1