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Vertical Ozone Concentration Profiles in the Arabian Gulf Region during Summer and Winter: Sensitivity of WRF-Chem to Planetary Boundary Layer Schemes

Category: Urban Air Quality

Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.06.0194
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Christos Fountoukis 1, Mohammed A. Ayoub1, Luis Ackermann1, Daniel Perez-Astudillo1, Dunia Bachour1, Ivan Gladich1, Ross D. Hoehn1,2

  • 1 Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Foundation, Doha, Qatar
  • 2 Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA


First application of WRF-Chem in the Middle East combined with vertical ozone data.
Triple nested model configuration with high spatial resolution.
Balloon launches performed with a high frequency.
Wintertime superiority of the YSU simulation –~35% ozone under prediction in summer.


Air quality in the Middle East is changing due to extensive land conversion, intense industrialization and rapid urbanization. In this study we analyze data from an ozonesonde station operated in Doha, Qatar by the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI). Ozonesondes were launched at 13:00 LT (10:00 UTC) weekly during a summertime month (August 2015) representative of extremely hot and humid atmospheric conditions and a wintertime period (January/February 2016) of cool conditions in the area. Unlike previous similar studies in the region, this work focuses on the lower troposphere and combines high frequency vertical measurement data with the use of the fully coupled Weather Research Forecasting model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem). A sensitivity study was conducted to identify the most representative planetary boundary layer parameterization. Although all three parameterizations that were examined produced similar result, the Yonsei University (YSU) planetary boundary layer (PBL) scheme was found statistically superior. Comparisons of model predictions against observations show high correlation coefficients and encouragingly low biases in all meteorological variables. During wintertime, ozone is overall well predicted (Fractional Bias = –0.1) while the summertime comparison is more challenging pointing towards possible biases in the anthropogenic emission inventory of the Middle East, especially of rapidly-changing urban environments.


PBL Mixing height Lower troposphere WRF-Chem Middle East

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