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Simulating atmospheric particle composition for human health and climate impacts using the high-detail particle-resolved aerosol model WRF-PartMC

Matthew West, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Matthew West, Jeff Curtis

Aerosol particles are an ubiquitous air pollutant, and their adverse health effects are well documented. Regional air-quality models represent aerosol particles in a highly simplified manner in terms of particle size and composition. To this point, the uncertainties in predicting health-relevant aerosol metrics introduced by the simplifying assumptions remain largely unknown.

The objective of this project is to benchmark the widely used Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modeling system, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, using our particle-resolving model aerosol WRF-PartMC. WRF-PartMC tracks samples of individual particles within the atmosphere and without simplifying assumptions regarding the evolution of particle size and composition.

While computationally expensive, the use of efficient stochastic algorithms, highly scalable parallelization and the unique capabilities of Blue Waters make the problem tractable and provide ultra-high-resolution modeling of aerosol populations for verification against less computationally expensive aerosol models.