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Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres






American Geophysical Union

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The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) models were used to simulate a 10 day high-ozone episode observed during the 2013 Uinta Basin Winter Ozone Study (UBWOS). The baseline model had a large negative bias when compared to ozone (O3) and volatile organic compound (VOC) measurements across the basin. Contrary to other wintertime Uinta Basin studies, predicted nitrogen oxides (NOx) were typically low compared to measurements. Increases to oil and gas VOC emissions resulted in O3 predictions closer to observations, and nighttime O3 improved when reducing the deposition velocity for all chemical species. Vertical structures of these pollutants were similar to observations on multiple days. However, the predicted surface layer VOC mixing ratios were generally found to be underestimated during the day and overestimated at night. While temperature profiles compared well to observations, WRF was found to have a warm temperature bias and too low nighttime mixing heights. Analyses of more realistic snow heat capacity in WRF to account for the warm bias and vertical mixing resulted in improved temperature profiles, although the improved temperature profiles seldom resulted in improved O3 profiles. While additional work is needed to investigate meteorological impacts, results suggest that the uncertainty in the oil and gas emissions contributes more to the underestimation of O3. Further, model adjustments based on a single site may not be suitable across all sites within the basin.

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