Preliminary Tests on the Sensitivity of the FORAIR_IT Air Quality Forecasting System to Different Meteorological Drivers
Since 2017, the operational high-resolution air quality forecasting system FORAIR_IT, developed and maintained by the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, has been providing three-day forecasts of concentrations of atmospheric pollutants over Europe and Italy, on a daily basis, with high spatial resolution (20 km on Europe, 4 km on Italy). The system is based on the Atmospheric Modelling System of the National Integrated Assessment Model for
... ssessment Model for Italy (AMS-MINNI), which is a national modelling system evaluated in several studies across Italy and Europe. AMS-MINNI, in its forecasting setup, is presently a candidate model for the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service's regional production, dedicated to European-scale ensemble model forecasts of air quality. In order to improve the quality of the meteorological input into the chemical transport model component of FORAIR_IT, several tests were carried out on daily forecasts of NO2 and O3 concentrations for January and August 2019 (representative of the meteorological seasons of winter and summer, respectively). The aim was to evaluate the sensitivity to the meteorological input in NO2 and O3 concentration forecasting. More specifically, the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) was tested to potentially improve the meteorological driver with respect to the Regional Atmospheric Modelling System (RAMS), which is currently embedded in FORAIR_IT. In this work, the WRF chain is run in several setups, changing the parameterization of several micrometeorological variables (snow, mixing height, albedo, roughness length, soil heat flux + friction velocity, Monin–Obukhov length), with the main objective being to take advantage of WRF's consistent physics in the calculation of both mesoscale variables and micrometeorological parameters for air quality simulations. Daily forecast concentrations produced by the different meteorological model configurations are compared to the available measured concentrations, showing the general good performance of WRF-driven results, even if performance skills are different according to the single meteorological configuration and to the pollutant type. WRF-driven forecasts clearly improve the model reproduction of the temporal variability of concentrations, while the bias of O3 is higher than in the RAMS-driven configuration. The results suggest that we should keep testing WRF configurations, with the objective of obtaining a robust improvement in forecast concentrations with respect to RAMS-driven forecasts.