16.0 How are the Meteorological Inputs Prepared for Air Quality Modeling?

In order to solve for the change in pollutant concentrations over time and space, air

quality models require certain meteorological inputs that help simulate the formation, transport,

and removal of pollutant material. The required meteorological inputs can vary by air quality

model, but consistently involve parameters such as wind, vertical mixing, temperature, moisture,

and solar radiation. While model inputs can be derived strictly from ambient measurements, a

more credible technical approach is to use meteorological grid models to provide the necessary

inputs. When these models are applied retrospectively (i.e., for historical time periods) they are

able to blend ambient data with model predictions via four-dimensional data assimilation

(FDDA), thereby yielding temporally and spatially complete data sets that are grounded by

actual observations.

This section provides recommendations for generating, or otherwise acquiring, the

meteorological data sets sufficient for air quality modeling purposes. Additional suggestions are

provided to assist in the configuration of standard meteorological modeling analyses. The last

section outlines procedures for evaluating whether the meteorological input is of sufficient

quality for input into the air quality model. In general, it is recommended that States/Tribes

spend appropriate effort in accurately characterizing the meteorological fields in view of several

sensitivity runs which show that relatively small perturbations in meteorological inputs can have

large impacts on resultant air quality modeling results (Dolwick, 2002).



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