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A new method for evaluating regional air quality forecasts

Dacre, H. F. (2011) A new method for evaluating regional air quality forecasts. Atmospheric Environment, 45 (4). pp. 993-1002. ISSN 1352-2310

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.10.048


A Kriging interpolation method is combined with an object-based evaluation measure to assess the ability of the UK Met Office's dispersion and weather prediction models to predict the evolution of a plume of tracer as it was transported across Europe. The object-based evaluation method, SAL, considers aspects of the Structure, Amplitude and Location of the pollutant field. The SAL method is able to quantify errors in the predicted size and shape of the pollutant plume, through the structure component, the over- or under-prediction of the pollutant concentrations, through the amplitude component, and the position of the pollutant plume, through the location component. The quantitative results of the SAL evaluation are similar for both models and close to a subjective visual inspection of the predictions. A negative structure component for both models, throughout the entire 60 hour plume dispersion simulation, indicates that the modelled plumes are too small and/or too peaked compared to the observed plume at all times. The amplitude component for both models is strongly positive at the start of the simulation, indicating that surface concentrations are over-predicted by both models for the first 24 hours, but modelled concentrations are within a factor of 2 of the observations at later times. Finally, for both models, the location component is small for the first 48 hours after the start of the tracer release, indicating that the modelled plumes are situated close to the observed plume early on in the simulation, but this plume location error grows at later times. The SAL methodology has also been used to identify differences in the transport of pollution in the dispersion and weather prediction models. The convection scheme in the weather prediction model is found to transport more pollution vertically out of the boundary layer into the free troposphere than the dispersion model convection scheme resulting in lower pollutant concentrations near the surface and hence a better forecast for this case study.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:16535
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pollution transport; Unified Model; NAME dispersion model; Feature-based evaluation; ETEX; SAL

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