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Chemical Modeling of the Reactivity of Short-Lived Greenhouse Gases: A Model Inter-Comparison Prescribing a Well-Measured, Remote TroposphereWe develop a new protocol for merging in situ measurements with 3-D model simulations of atmospheric chemistry with the goal of integrating over the data to identify the most reactive air parcels in terms of tropospheric production and loss of the greenhouse gases ozone and methane. Presupposing that we can accurately measure atmospheric composition, we examine whether models constrained by such measurements agree on the chemical budgets for ozone and methane. In applying our technique to a synthetic data stream of 14,880 parcels along 180W, we are able to isolate the performance of the photochemical modules operating within their global chemistry-climate and chemistry-transport models, removing the effects of modules controlling tracer transport, emissions, and scavenging. Differences in reactivity across models are driven only by the chemical mechanism and the diurnal cycle of photolysis rates, which are driven in turn by temperature, water vapor, solar zenith angle, clouds, and possibly aerosols and overhead ozone, which are calculated in each model. We evaluate six global models and identify their differences and similarities in simulating the chemistry through a range of innovative diagnostics. All models agree that the more highly reactive parcels dominate the chemistry (e.g., the hottest 10% of parcels control 25-30% of the total reactivities), but do not fully agree on which parcels comprise the top 10%. Distinct differences in specific features occur, including the regions of maximum ozone production and methane loss, as well as in the relationship between photolysis and these reactivities. Unique, possibly aberrant, features are identified for each model, providing a benchmark for photochemical module development. Among the 6 models tested here, 3 are almost indistinguishable based on the inherent variability caused by clouds, and thus we identify 4, effectively distinct, chemical models. Based on this work, we suggest that water vapor differences in model simulations of past and future atmospheres may be a cause of the different evolution of tropospheric O3 and CH4, and lead to different chemistry-climate feedbacks across the models.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Prather, Michael J.
(California Univ. Irvine, CA, United States)
Flynn, Clare M.
(California Univ. Irvine, CA, United States)
Zhu, Xin
(California Univ. Irvine, CA, United States)
Steenrod, Stephen D.
(Universities Space Research Association Columbia, MD, United States)
Strode, Sarah A.
(Universities Space Research Association Columbia, MD, United States)
Fiore, Arlene M.
(Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Palisades, NY, United States)
Correa, Gustavo
(Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Palisades, NY, United States)
Murray, Lee T.
(Rochester Univ. NY, United States)
Lamarque, Jean-Francois
(National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, CO, United States)
Date Acquired
May 16, 2018
Publication Date
May 7, 2018
Publication Information
Publication: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques
Publisher: European Geosciences Union
Volume: 11
Issue: 5
ISSN: 1867-1381
e-ISSN: 1867-8548
Subject Category
Computer Programming And Software
Environment Pollution
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
greenhouse gases

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