Evaluation of the meteorological forcing used for the Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative (AQMEII) air quality simulations
Accurate regional air pollution simulation relies strongly on the accuracy of the mesoscale meteorological simulation used to drive the air quality model. The framework of the Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative (AQMEII), which involved a large international community of modeling groups in Europe and North America, offered a unique opportunity to evaluate the skill of mesoscale meteorological models for two continents for the same period. More than 20 groups worldwide participated in AQMEII, using several meteorological and chemical transport models with different configurations. The evaluation has been performed over a full year (2006) for both continents. The focus for this particular evaluation was meteorological parameters relevant to air quality processes such as transport and mixing, chemistry, and surface fluxes. The unprecedented scale of the exercise (one year, two continents) allowed us to examine the general characteristics of meteorological models' skill and uncertainty. In particular, we found that there was a large variability between models or even model versions in predicting key parameters such as surface shortwave radiation. We also found several systematic model biases such as wind speed overestimations, particularly during stable conditions. We conclude that major challenges still remain in the simulation of meteorology, such as nighttime meteorology and cloud/radiation processes, for air quality simulation.