Sensitivity of surface ozone simulation to cumulus parameterization

Zhining Tao, Allen Williams, Ho-Chun Huang, Michael Caughey, Xin-Zhong Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Different cumulus schemes cause significant discrepancies in simulated precipitation, cloud cover, and temperature, which in turn lead to remarkable differences in simulated biogenic volatile organic compound (BVOC) emissions and surface ozone concentrations. As part of an effort to investigate the impact (and its uncertainty) of climate changes on U.S. air quality, this study evaluates the sensitivity of BVOC emissions and surface ozone concentrations to the Grell (GR) and Kain-Fritsch (KF) cumulus parameterizations. Overall, using the KF scheme yields less cloud cover, larger incident solar radiation, warmer surface temperature, and higher boundary layer height and hence generates more BVOC emissions than those using the GR scheme. As a result, the KF (versus GR) scheme produces more than 10 ppb of summer mean daily maximum 8-h ozone concentration over broad regions, resulting in a doubling of the number of high-ozone occurrences. The contributions of meteorological conditions versus BVOC emissions on regional ozone sensitivities to the choice of the cumulus scheme largely offset each other in the California and Texas regions, but the contrast in BVOC emissions dominates over that in the meteorological conditions for ozone differences in the Midwest and Northeast regions. The result demonstrates the necessity of considering the uncertainty of future ozone projections that are identified with alternative model physics configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1456-1466
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008


  • ISWS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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